Former Arkansas State Senator Sentenced to 220 Months in Prison

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that a former Arkansas State Senator, Jonathan E. Woods, 41, has been sentenced to 220 months in prison “for organizing and leading a bribery scheme in which state funds were directed to non-profit entities in exchange for kickbacks, many of which were funneled through a consultant’s business.” Woods served in the Arkansas State Senate from 2013 through 2017.

Woods has been found guilty on 15 counts, ‘including conspiracy, honest services wire and mail fraud, and money laundering,” according to a DOJ release issued this week.

DOJ accuses Woods of using “his official position as a senator to appropriate and direct government money, known as General Improvement Funds (GIF), to two non-profit entities by, among other things, directly authorizing GIF disbursements and advising other Arkansas legislators – including former State Representative Micah Neal, 43, of Springdale, Arkansas – to contribute GIF to the non-profits.  Specifically, Woods and Neal authorized and directed the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District, which was responsible for disbursing the GIF, to award a total of approximately $600,000 in GIF money to the two non-profit entities.”

In addition to his prison sentence, Woods was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to repay $1,621,500 to the State of Arkansas and two economic development districts, as well as forfeiting an additional $1,097,005.

“Jonathan Woods abused his position as an Arkansas State Senator and betrayed the public trust by taking bribes and kickbacks,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski. “This conviction demonstrates the commitment of the Department of Justice and our federal partners to investigate and prosecute public officials who misuse their authority to benefit themselves at the expense of the citizens they pledged to serve.”

Posted in The Takedown

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