TED SUHL Brian Chilson

The White House announced today that President Trump has commuted the prison sentence of Ted Suhl, a former operator of a behavioral health company in Arkansas who was convicted on bribery and fraud-related charges in July 2016. The White House said Trump’s decision to commute Suhl’s sentence was influenced by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins. See the full release below.

During the four years covered by the indictment, 2007 to 2011, Suhl’s companies, which provided both residential and out-patient services, received some $125 million in Medicaid reimbursements from the state through the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Federal prosecutors said Suhl intended to help his companies by funneling money to a top administrator at DHS and former legislator, Steven Jones, by way of communicating through a middleman, West Memphis juvenile probation officer Philip Carter. Carter and Jones pleaded guilty to bribery and served sentences in federal prison.

Read extensive coverage of Suhl’s federal trial here.

Suhl was scheduled to be released Feb. 25, 2023.

Advertisement

Suhl made millions in public money from operation of a residential facility once known as the Lord’s Ranch, later renamed Trinity Behavioral Health. He also operated outpatient facilities under the names Arkansas Counseling Associates and Maxus. He was a powerful political player, particularly during the administration of Huckabee, who shared Suhl’s conservative religious views and took rides on Suhl’s plane.

Suhl was the subject of several investigative pieces in the Arkansas Times over the years, both for political connections and influence and for some of the practices at the Lord’s Ranch. Mary Jacoby, who wrote a major article in 2009 on the Lord’s Ranch, also reported on the Suhl family’s arrival in Arkansas after his father and his father’s mother (not Ted Suhl’s mother) were convicted of felonies in a financial swindle in California.

Today, President Donald J. Trump commuted the prison sentence of Ted Suhl, an action strongly encouraged by leaders in Mr. Suhl’s home State of Arkansas.

Mr. Suhl ran faith-based behavioral healthcare treatment centers for juveniles in Arkansas.  Investigators alleged that Mr. Suhl participated in a bribery scheme to increase Medicaid payments to his company.  Federal prosecutors in Arkansas declined to pursue the case, but prosecutors in Washington decided to move forward with the prosecution.  Although acquitted on half of the charges filed against him, he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Mr. Suhl was a pillar of his community before his prosecution and a generous contributor to several charities.  He has been a model prisoner while serving his sentence, maintaining a spotless disciplinary record.  Mr. Suhl’s request for clemency is strongly supported by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former United States Attorney Bud Cummins of the Eastern District of Arkansas, each of whom have devoted considerable time and effort to securing his release.