SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Executives of a Springfield charity and a former Arkansas legislator are under federal investigation, accused of using charity funds make political contributions and illegal lobbying.
Executives at Preferred Family Healthcare are accused of using non-profit funds to influence elected and appointed officials. It’s reported the fraud scheme happened between April 2011 and January of 2017.
Preferred Family Healthcare provides a variety of services – medical, mental and behavioral treatment and counseling, among others. It’s a merger between alternative opportunities and PFH.
A consultant hired out of Philadelphia, 62-year-old Donald “DA” Jones pleaded guilty in federal court Monday admitting he was paid $$973,807 by workers at PFH for illegal lobbying and political activity. Official documents state two people received a total of $264,000 in kickbacks from Jones.
A release from the U.S. Attorney of the Western District of Missouri mentions but does not name other individuals involved in the scheme. Three of them are executives at the charity in Springfield. One other person is a former state legislator in Arkansas, residing in Melbourne. And a Rogers, AR, resident who operates two lobbying firms.
According to court documents, the charity received Medicaid reimbursement from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma totaling about $255 million between 2011 and 2016. Plus $53 million from federal grants, loans and other programs between 2010 and 2016.
The documents say payments to political contributions and lobbying would be recorded as business expenses such as “consulting” and “training.”
In a statement to KOLR10, a spokesperson for PFH says it’s “cooperating fully with federal authorities and have taken proactive actions to address issues identified by the government, including restructuring executive management and board roles.”
The statement says “individuals associated with [Alternative Opportunities] may have engaged in unlawful activity unbeknownst to the rest of the organization.
PFH also says Jones and his company have no current affiliation with the organization.
A sentencing hearing for Jones has yet to be scheduled.
The Springfield executives and the former Arkansas legislator are not named in this release because indictments haven’t yet been returned.