Looks like the feds are stepping up the pressure against the alleged kingpins of the multi-million-dollar public corruption probe that has already netted Arkansas legislators, lobbyists and others.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Western Missouri announced a superseding indictment today against Tom and Bontiea Goss, former heads of the Preferred Family Healthcare organization based in Springfield, Mo. They are accused along with many others who’ve already pleaded in taking kickbacks, enjoying high living and funneling illegal money to politicians and others in the former five-state operation that cashed hundreds of millions in federal payments, primarily Medicaid, for services to needy people.

Former legislators Micah Neal and Jon Woods and others have already been sentenced for participation in schemes related to PFH.  Former legislators Jeremy Hutchison, Eddie Cooper and Hank Wilkins are yet to come, along with a number of former agency employees. One of the accused has committed suicide.

Today: a superseding indictment was released against the Gosses,  in which Hutchinson, the governoer’s nephew, and former power lobbyist Rusty Cranford are expected to be key witnesses.

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Read it all here.

It’s a sweeping narrative of the massive corruption scheme. It still leaves some Arkansas figures unnamed and unindicted, if deeply implicated. They include a former legislator and a former Economic Development Commission employee. The abuse of General Improvement Fund money is again detailed. (That scheme is being replicated again in a new form controlled by the executive.) There’s a lot here about the hotly contested plan for computing reimbursement for youth mental health services and the riches that flowed to top PFH people for the services they provided. From the language, you could expect former legislators, now inder indictment, to be lining up to testify against the Gosses to minimize their sentences.

Many of the allegations have been made before. They are small and large. It’s almost 100 pages and I’ll need to inspect more closely for new information. I’d love to know who other persons “known and unknown” are who were accomplices. Will report more later.

UPDATE: Here’s a further elaboration from the U.S. attorney’s office:

These new allegations involve Hutchinson’s role in the Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2015. Hutchinson, at the time a state senator, allegedly included language in the Act that was requested by Bontiea Goss and which provided an advantage to the charity when competing for state contracts, while he was receiving thousands of dollars from the charity.

Note that the indictment no longer includes Hutchinson as a defendant, since he has pleaded guilty.The second superseding indictment adds three counts of wire fraud against Bontiea and Tom Goss (former executives at Preferred Family Healthcare) – Counts 18, 19, 20. The underlying conduct is described in the “Overt Acts” section of Count One (Conspiracy), section W, which begins on page 73.

These new allegations involve Hutchinson’s role in the Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2015. Hutchinson, at the time a state senator, allegedly included language in the Act that was requested by Bontiea Goss and which provided an advantage to the charity when competing for state contracts, while he was receiving thousands of dollars from the charity.

 

Note that the indictment no longer includes Hutchinson as a defendant, since he has pleaded guilty.

 

In other words, I think the cooperation of the governor’s nephew in a scheme involved undue advantage to a state contractor in return for money has proved useful to the government.

 

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