Jeremy Hutchinson to Plead Guilty to Accepting Bribes From Orthodontist

by Billy Tarpley on June 24, 2019

Reprinted from Arkansas Times, June 24, 2019:

“Federal prosecutors in Fayetteville filed a federal bribery charge Monday against former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, who will waive indictment and will plead guilty to it Tuesday in Little Rock.

“Hutchinson is also scheduled to change his plea in a 12-count indictment brought by a grand jury last August.

“The new charge appears to be related to his relationship with Dr. Ben Burris, an orthodontist formerly of Fayetteville who challenged the state’s restrictions on dental practices, although Burris is not named.

“Instead, the information (a charge filed directly by prosecutors) refers to “Individual A,” an orthodontist who lived in the Western District of Arkansas and owned orthodontist clinics, referred to as Entities A, B, C and D.

“Burris has not been charged with any crime, and his office in Florida was closed when Arkansas Business called Monday afternoon. Tim Dudley, Hutchinson’s defense attorney, said he did not know whether Burris would be charged.

“According to prosecutors, Hutchinson received bribes totaling $157,500 from “Individual A” between February 2014 and November 2016, which was the time period during which Hutchinson introduced legislation designed to amend the state Dental Practices Act so that orthodontists could practice general dentistry. 

“To conceal the bribes paid by Individual A to Hutchinson, the payments were identified as legal fees paid in the form of an up-front and then monthly retainer,” according to the information. “To further conceal the bribes paid by Individual A to Hutchinson, Individual A’s businesses referred legal work to Hutchinson.”

“Hutchinson is also facing federal bribery charges in Missouri related to his relationship with a Medicaid provider of mental health services.”

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