Jury Convicts Ex-Arkansas Legislator, Consultant On Fraud Charges

May 3, 2018

Former Arkansas Sen. Jon Woods

A federal jury has convicted a former Arkansas state senator of fraud involving legislative grants to a small college in Springdale. A co-defendant was also convicted.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Jon Woods was convicted Thursday on 15 of the 17 counts he faced, while co-defendant Randell Shelton Jr. was convicted on 12 of 15 counts. Federal prosecutors said the men were involved in a kickback scheme involving Ecclesia College. The college's former president pleaded guilty in the case last month, and former state Rep. Micah Neal pleaded guilty last year.

An indictment said the money involved from the General Improvement Fund, state money that legislators can direct to certain types of projects. The state Supreme Court ruled last year that their method of distributing the money was unconstitutional.