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Former Arkansas senator gets 18 months in prison in fraud case

By Dave Hughes

This article was originally published June 18, 2018 at 11:53 a.m. Updated June 18, 2018 at 3:10 p.m.

file-former-state-sen-jake-files-walks-into-the-judge-isaac-c-parker-federal-building-in-fort-smith-in-this-jan-29-file-photo

FILE — Former state Sen. Jake Files walks into the Judge Isaac C. Parker Federal Building in Fort Smith in this Jan. 29 file photo.

FORT SMITH — Former state senator Jake Files was sentenced Monday to 18 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay more than $83,000 in restitution on wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering charges.

Files pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud and money laundering for misdirecting nearly $27,000 in state General Improvement Fund money from a baseball-softball complex project he was involved in building for Fort Smith and using the money for personal purposes.

The bank-fraud charge accused him of pledging a forklift he did not own as collateral for a bank loan.

Files resigned Feb. 9 from his Senate seat representing District 8. He had announced last year, before he was charged in court, that he would not seek re-election to the seat he’d held since 2011.

Files was chairman of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee and served on the Senate Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs Committee, the Senate Efficiency Committee, the Arkansas Legislative Council and the Joint Budget Committee.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday he was saddened by Files' case.

"It is always a sad day when a public official violates the public trust," Hutchinson said. "I have known Jake most of his life, and when he was charged, he resigned and accepted responsibility. ... It is up to all of us in public service to do right and restore public confidence."

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 total comments

MaxCady says... June 18, 2018 at 1:32 p.m.

That's a good start!

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ZeebronZ says... June 18, 2018 at 1:58 p.m.

A Little fish. There are bigger ones out there.

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JMort69 says... June 18, 2018 at 4:32 p.m.

And how are you going to do that Asa? You who have been utterly silent while these crimes were being committed right under your nose, possibly by your own nephew. You who are still allowing the state to pour money into the very companies used by Cranford to rip us off. You don't have enough credibility left to convince we the people of anything. The best way to restore our confidence in these offices is for you and all the rest to join Files in resigning. But, of course, you won't do that because you are all about you. Self-promotion is your biggest concern, not the people of Arkansas. I'm sure you are lining up to run for the U.S. Senate. Rest assured, there are those of us out here who will not let people forget your abdication of duty to us. Time for you and your clan to go home and let us have a fresh start.

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eaglescout says... June 18, 2018 at 5:07 p.m.

Too little. All this talk about ethics reform with no teeth. How about a bill that on conviction, in addition to the slap on the wrist they lose all their retirement, pension, healthcare and whatever else they have voted in for themselves and their families. Make them think long and hard about the possible consequences before they stick the long greasy palm out...

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NWAGrandma says... June 19, 2018 at 9:40 p.m.

WHAT??? "18 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay more than $83,000 in restitution" That's ALL the punishment this crook gets??! Shameful. Pitiful. And Asa, I am not at all impressed by your puny response in this matter.

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