Lobbyist sentenced to 7 years in Arkansas corruption scheme

Arkansas News

This undated photo provided by Greene County Missouri Sheriffs Department shows Milton “Rusty” Cranford. Cranford, a lobbyist who pleaded guilty to bribing three former Arkansas state lawmakers, including the governor’s nephew, is set for sentencing in federal court in Missouri. Cranford could face up to 10 years in federal prison Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, for bribing Republican Sen. Jon Woods, Democratic Rep. Hank Wilkins and Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson. Prosecutors say Cranford paid the bribes to benefit the Missouri-based nonprofit Preferred Family HealthCare, whose former executives also face charges. (Greene County Sheriffs Department via AP)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A lobbyist who pleaded guilty to bribing three former Arkansas state lawmakers, including the governor’s nephew, has been sentenced to seven years in prison without parole.

Rusty Cranford was sentenced in federal court Monday for bribing Republican state Sen. Jon Woods, Democratic state Rep. Hank Wilkins and Republican state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson. Prosecutors say Cranford paid the bribes to benefit the Missouri-based nonprofit Preferred Family HealthCare, whose former executives also face charges.

Of the lawmakers involved, Woods was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Wilkins and Hutchinson have both pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Hutchinson is the nephew of Arkansas’ Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson.

Cranford was also ordered to repay more than $3.7 million that prosecutors say he received in the scheme. Cranford faced up to ten years in prison.

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