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Former State Senator Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison

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Former Arkansas state senator Jon Woods (R-Springdale) was sentenced on Wednesday, Sept. 5, to over 18 years in prison on fraud and money laundering charges.

Woods received a prison sentence of 220 months, or 18 1/3 years, and three years of supervised release. He also has been ordered to pay approximately $1.6 million in restitution for his part in a bribery scheme.

According to prosecutors, Woods funneled state funds amounting to $600,000 to nonprofits, and received kickbacks in exchange. Former state Rep. Micah Neal (R-Springdale) also allegedly was part of the scheme. Both individuals helped divert the state funds to nonprofits, including Ecclesia College, a private Christian school.

RELATED: Hendren calls for Senate video streaming.

In May, Woods was convicted on 15 counts, which included conspiracy, money laundering and fraud, relating to the scheme. Neal and Ecclesia College’s former president, Oren Paris III, have pleaded guilty to charges and will be sentenced later. Randell G. Shelton Jr. has also been convicted of conspiracy and fraud and has been sentenced to six years in prison and a fine of $660,698.

Woods has been released on bond but must surrender himself on Sept. 26 to begin his prison sentence.

RELATED: Read more about Jake Files, a state senator, who recently reported to prison.

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