Former Arkansas legislator Eddie Cooper pleads guilty to embezzlement
LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (Talk Business & Politics)-As Arkansas lawmakers headed to Little Rock Monday (Feb. 12) for the fiscal session, former Rep. Eddie Wayne Cooper, D-Melbourne, pleaded guilty in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to embezzle more than $4 million from a Springfield, Mo. based healthcare charity.
Timothy Garrison, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that Cooper, 51, waived his right Monday to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Rush to charges of one count of conspiracy to embezzle from the nonprofit organization.
By pleading guilty, the former Democratic legislator-turned-lobbyist admitted he conspired with several executives of Preferred Family Healthcare, a nonprofit charity headquartered in Springfield, to use the charity’s funds for unlawful political contributions, for excessive, unreported lobbying and to financially benefit himself.
Cooper received at least $387,501 from a lobbying firm and at least $63,000 in kickbacks as a result of his participation in the conspiracy. Under the terms of Monday’s plea agreement, Cooper must forfeit his gain from the conspiracy to the government.
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