Ex-Arkansas lawmaker pleads guilty in charity scheme
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A former Arkansas state representative has pleaded guilty to his role in an embezzlement scheme involving a Springfield, Missouri-based charity.
Federal prosecutors say 51-year-old Eddie Wayne Cooper, of Melbourne, Arkansas, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to embezzle more than $4 million from Preferred Family Healthcare.
Prosecutors say Cooper and several executives of the non-profit charity used the embezzled money for political contributions, unreported lobbying and personal expenses.
Cooper, who was an Arkansas state lawmaker from 2006 to January 2011, received at least $387,501 from a lobbying firm and at least $63,000 in kickbacks from the conspiracy. He was ordered Monday to forfeit those gains.
Prosecutors say five additional people — including executives of the charity — are considered co-conspirators but have not been charged in the fraud scheme.