Arkansas State Senator Jakes C. Files has pled guilty to wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering in a scheme to obtain $46,500 in state funds, the Department of Justice said Monday.
Mr. Files, a Republican, represents Arkansas State Legislative District No. 8.
As part of his plea agreement, Mr. Files admitted that he used his senate office to obtain government funds for personal gain through fraudulent means. He admitted to authorizing and directing the Western Arkansas Economic Development District to award $46,500 in General Improvement Funds to Fort Smith, Arkansas, the Justice Department said.
To secure the release of the General Improvement Funds, government money used to promote economic development, Mr. Files prepared and submitted three fraudulent bids, the Department of Justice said.
Mr. Files then instructed an associate to open bank account under that person’s name to conceal his role as the beneficiary of the funds. When the first installment of $25,900 was wire transferred from Fort Smith to the account, Mr. Files’ associate withdrew $11,900 in cashier’s check payable to the senator’s construction company and the rest in cash. Mr. Files, then deposited that money into his personal bank account.
Mr. Files also submitted a false loan application in November 2016 as part of a scheme to secure roughly $56,700 from First Western Bank.
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