Missouri charity exec indicted in Arkansas bribery scheme

Missouri charity exec indicted in Arkansas bribery scheme
(Source: Raycom Media)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A former Missouri charity executive has been indicted in a conspiracy that has ensnared a former Arkansas state representative.

The nine-count federal indictment was unsealed Wednesday after the arrest of 56 -year-old Milton Russell Cranford, of Rogers, Arkansas. Cranford was a lobbyist and served as an executive of a Springfield, Missouri, nonprofit's operations in the state of Arkansas.

The indictment alleges that Cranford and former Arkansas Rep. Eddie Wayne Cooper received $264,000 in secret kickback payments from a New Jersey co-conspirator. Prosecutors say the co-conspirator was paid nearly $1 million by the charity in a bribery scheme that lasted from 2011 until 2017.

Cooper became a lobbyist after leaving the legislature in 2011. He pleaded guilty in a separate indictment to conspiracy to embezzle from the nonprofit, Preferred Family Healthcare.

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