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A former charity official from Missouri was sentenced for an Arkansas embezzlement scam



Little Rock, Arkansas – Former executives of a Missouri-based charity, Bontiea Bernedette Goss and Tommy “Tom” Ray Goss, were sentenced to prison for embezzling funds from the organization and using them to bribe government officials in Arkansas.

In addition to receiving sentences of three years and six years in prison, respectively, Bontiea and her husband also had to pay $4.35 million in forfeiture and/or restitution.

At Preferred Healthcare Inc., Tom was the chief financial officer and Bontiea was the former chief operating officer.

The charity’s mission was to help people in different ways, and it operated throughout Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois.

These services included counseling and therapy for mental and behavioral health issues, help with substance misuse issues and treatment for addiction, help finding work, support for those with developmental disabilities, and medical care.

In addition to diverting monies from the State’s General Improvement Fund, the couple would utilize the charity’s funds for bribes and kickbacks to elected Arkansas officials, so influencing legislation in the charity’s favor.

Only Tom entered a guilty plea to one count of aiding and abetting the preparation and presentation of a fake tax return, and to participating in the conspiracy by embezzling monies from the charity. The other two entered guilty pleas to conspiracy charges to pay bribes and kickbacks to political officials in Arkansas.

Preferred Family Healthcare acknowledged criminal wrongdoing by former officers and employees and consented to pay more than $8 million in forfeiture and restitution to the State of Arkansas and the federal government under the conditions of a non-prosecution agreement.
Following the disclosure in this case, a number of people have entered guilty pleas in a federal court, including state officials, former charity leaders, and others. These people include the following:

• Former CEO Marilyn Luann Nolan, of Springfield, Missouri, pleaded guilty in November 2018 to her role in a conspiracy to embezzle and misapply the funds of a charitable organization that received federal funds.

• Former Director of Operations and Executive Vice President Robin Raveendran, of Little Rock, Arkansas, pleaded guilty in June 2019 to conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

• Former Executive and Head of Clinical Operations Keith Fraser Noble, of Rogersville, Missouri, pleaded guilty in September 2019 to concealment of a known felony.

• Former employee and Head of Operations and Lobbying in Arkansas Milton Russell Cranford, also known as Rusty, of Rogers, Arkansas, was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of federal program bribery.

• Political consultant Donald Andrew Jones, also known as D.A. Jones, of Willingboro, New Jersey, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to his role in a conspiracy from April 2011 to January 2017 to steal from an organization that receives federal funds.

• Former Arkansas State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson, of Little Rock, pursuant to a global plea agreement, pleaded guilty on June 25, 2019 in the Eastern District of Arkansas to filing a false tax return; pleaded guilty on June 25, 2019, to an information filed in the Western District of Arkansas to conspiracy to commit federal program bribery; and pleaded guilty in the Western District of Missouri on July 8, 2019, to conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. Hutchinson was sentenced to eight years in prison.

• Former Arkansas State Representative Eddie Wayne Cooper, of Melbourne, Arkansas, pleaded guilty in February 2018 to conspiracy to embezzle more than $4 million from Preferred Family Healthcare.

• Former Arkansas State Senator and State Representative Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal program bribery and devising a scheme and artifice to defraud and deprive the citizens of the State of Arkansas of their right to honest services. Wilkins was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

The instances were looked at by IRS-CI, FBI, and the Offices of the Inspectors General from the FDIC, Labor, and Justice Departments.




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