Arkansas State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson (R) was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday for allegedly devising a scheme to steal thousands of dollars in campaign funds. He is alleged to have spent the money on personal luxuries and expenses, falsifying state campaign finance reports and tax filings as part of the scheme.

The 44-year-old Hutchinson has served as a State Senator since 2011 and first became involved in elected politics as a State Representative in 2000. The indictment charges Hutchinson with eight counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns.  He will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia S. Harris on Sept. 18.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch of the FBI Little Rock Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Tamera Cantu of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS–CI) Dallas Field Office, made the announcement.

“Jeremy Hutchinson allegedly diverted contributions from his Arkansas State Senate campaigns to pay for an array of personal expenses,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “The charges in this case demonstrate the commitment of the Department and our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those involved in alleged campaign-related misconduct.”

“This indictment by the grand jury represents serious charges, and we look forward to preparing our case and presenting it to a jury of 12 people who we trust to do justice in this matter,” said U.S. Attorney Hiland.

Counts one through eight of the indictment charge Hutchinson with wire fraud related to falsified state campaign finance reports and soliciting campaign donors with fraudulent intent. Counts nine through 12 charge Hutchinson with tax fraud for allegedly filing false tax returns from 2011 to 2014.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Criminal Investigations division of IRS. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Marco Palmieri of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Mazzanti and Patrick Harris from the Eastern District of Arkansas and Ben Wulff from the Western District of Arkansas.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Hutchinson participated in "active shooter" training at a school in 2013 allegedly shot a participant with a rubber bullet who was a "good guy" confronting a so-called "bad guy". Hutchinson was on a legislative committee that was debating the role of firearms in schools. 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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