Ex-Arkansas lawmaker gets 4 years for Missouri bribery case

Arkansas state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Benton, speaks at a legislative subcommittee meeting at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Aug. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

A former Arkansas state senator has been sentenced to four years and two months in prison for accepting multiple bribes in Missouri, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Jeremy Hutchinson, 48, of Little Rock, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, for his conviction on a charge of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release. That sentence will run after previous sentences of three years and 10 months for similar convictions in the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, bringing a total of eight years in prison, the department said.

Hutchinson admitted that as a senator he was hired as outside counsel for Preferred Family Healthcare Inc., and in exchange took action in the Arkansas Legislature to help the Springfield, Missouri-based nonprofit.

Hutchinson admitted to holding up agency budgets, initiating legislative audits, and sponsoring and voting for legislation that would help Preferred Family, according to his plea agreement. Hutchinson was paid more than $350,000 in charity funds between May 2014 and 2017 and also received hotel rooms and Major League Baseball tickets paid for by the nonprofit.

In 2022, Preferred Family Healthcare agreed to pay more than $8 million in forfeiture and restitution to the federal government and the state of Arkansas under the terms of a non-prosecution agreement, in which the company admitted to criminal conduct by former officers and employees, prosecutors said.

Hutchinson is the son of former U.S. Sen. Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas and is former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s nephew.