- Associated Press - Thursday, September 17, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A former West Memphis city councilman has admitted to being an intermediary who helped pass bribes to the former deputy director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

Former councilman Phillip Carter pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal conspiracy charge. The former deputy director, Steven Jones, pleaded guilty last October to conspiracy and bribery charges for providing assistance to two mental health companies that counsel youth in exchange for gifts.

The two companies, Trinity Behavioral Health Care and Maxus Inc., were suspended from the state’s Medicaid program last year after the state learned of the scheme.

The companies filed a lawsuit appealing the suspension and received a restraining order temporarily preventing the state from cutting off the flow of funds. The lawsuit and an administrative appeal were dropped by the companies in December after the restraining order expired and a judge declined to extend it.

According to court records, Carter and others conspired to provide at least $10,000 and other things of value to Jones, who then provided inside information that benefited the companies, from April 2007 through November 2011.

Two other people who are accused of playing a role in the scheme, but not named in court documents, haven’t been charged with any crime.

Jones also served as a state representative from Marion from November 1998 to December 2004. He’s scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 8, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1KoDt3J) reported.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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