A former executive of Arkansas’ largest behavioral healthcare provider pleaded guilty Wednesday to participating in a conspiracy to bribe former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Western Missouri announced.
Robin Raveendran, 63, who worked for the Missouri-based nonprofit Preferred Family Healthcare from 2014-2017, said in his plea that he directed money provided by Preferred Family to pay Hutchinson in exchange for favorable legislative action, according to a news release.
The money was funneled through a private association called Alliance for Health Care, which Raveendran, Hutchinson and former Arkansas lobbyist Milton “Rusty” Cranford formed in 2014.
Robin Raveendran plea agreementView
Cranford, another former Preferred Family executive, pleaded guilty a year ago to a federal bribery charge in Missouri.
Hutchinson has pleaded innocent to bribery and other charges in a separate case not set for trial until 2021.
Raveendran's guilty plea comes a day after the conclusion of a two-day hearing in Little Rock in which Hutchinson argued that either wire-fraud and tax-fraud charges against him should be dismissed or some evidence in the case should be suppressed. That trial is scheduled to begin on July 8.
Check back for updates and read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.