Arkansas lawmaker, college president charged in kickback scheme

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By David Alexander

<span class="articleLocation”>A former Arkansas state senator and a college
president have been charged in a kickback scheme in which
thousands of dollars in bribes were paid to lawmakers who
directed state funds to two non-profit groups, the U.S. Justice
Department said on Friday.

Jonathan Woods, 39, an Arkansas state senator from 2013 to
2017, was charged with wire fraud, mail fraud and money
laundering. Oren Paris III, 49, the president of Ecclesia
College, was charged with wire fraud and mail fraud, as was a
third man, Randell Shelton Jr., 37, the department said.

Woods is accused of directing some $600,000 in Arkansas
general improvement funds to two non-profits and receiving tens
of thousands of dollars in bribes from officials at the groups,
including Paris, the Justice Department said. Another lawmaker
already has pleaded guilty in the case, it said.



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