A top Arkansas lawmaker has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he pocketed thousands of dollars in state funds intended to go toward the construction of a sports complex and falsified bids to ensure that he would get the money.
Republican state Sen. Jake Files pleaded guilty on Monday to wire fraud, money laundering and bank fraud charges related to the state funds and for pledging a forklift he did not own as collateral for a bank loan. Files was released on a $5,000 bond after entering his plea in Fort Smith.
Files chairs the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee and has served in the state Senate since 2011. The Fort Smith lawmaker announced last year that he would not seek re-election.