Jeremy Hutchinson, a former Republican state senator and member of a powerful Arkansas political family, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for bribery and filing a false tax return, based on a report by The Washington Post on February 3, 2023. The sentence, which was two years below the low-end guideline range of 70 to 87 months calculated from federal sentencing guidelines, was handed down by U.S. District Judge Kristine G. Baker.
In addition to the prison sentence, Baker ordered Hutchinson to pay $355,535.10 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.
Based on a report by The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on February 3, 2023, Hutchinson was implicated in a fraud investigation involving a Missouri-based non-profit organization, Preferred Family Healthcare, along with other state lawmakers. Republican Jon Woods and Democrat Hank Wilkins IV were convicted and sentenced to prison, while Republican Micah Neal received probation. Eddie Wayne Cooper’s sentence is unknown.
Hutchinson’s attorney, Timothy Dudley, argued for a lower sentence, pointing out that several of those sentenced for similar behavior in the conspiracy, including Wilkins, received sentences of one year and one day in prison. However, Judge Baker stated that Hutchinson’s offenses appeared to be part of a pattern, indicating that his behavior was not aberrant, as reported by The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The former legislator admitted to filing false tax returns from 2012 to 2014 and to conspiring to commit bribery with Benjamin Burris from 2014 to 2017, accepting over $157,000 in exchange for favorable legislation. The legal proceedings were handled by a federal judge in Western Missouri, and no sentencing date has been set.