New charge added to ex-Arkansas lawmaker bribery case
FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — Federal prosecutors have added a conspiracy charge in a revised indictment filed against a former state senator and two others accused in a bribery scheme.
Former Sen. Jon Woods, Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III and consultant Randell Shelton Jr. each have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The men were charged in a federal indictment in March.
The Justice Department alleges that Paris paid Woods and former state Rep. Micah Neal kickbacks for a total of $550,000 in grants for his college from 2013 to 2014. Shelton is accused of using his consulting firm to pass the kickbacks to Woods and Neal through consulting fees Paris approved.
The revised indictment replaces previous grand jury indictments against Woods, Paris and Shelton.
Woods faces 15 counts of fraud and has also been charged with one count of money laundering. Paris and Shelton face 14 fraud charges. Woods, Paris and Shelton have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled for trial Dec. 4. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison on fraud conspiracy charges. Woods faces an additional 10 years on the money laundering charge.