Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Former Arkansas senator jailed in fraud case

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Former state senator Jake Files was sentenced Monday to 18 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay more than $83,000 in restitution on wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering charges.

Files pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud and money laundering for misdirecting nearly $27,000 in state General Improvement Fund money from a baseball-softball complex project he was involved in building for Fort Smith and using the money for personal purposes.

The bank-fraud charge accused him of pledging a forklift he did not own as collateral for a bank loan.

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Files resigned Feb. 9 from his Senate seat representing District 8. He had announced last year, before he was charged in court, that he would not seek re-election to the seat he’d held since 2011.

Files was chairman of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee and served on the Senate Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs Committee, the Senate Efficiency Committee, the Arkansas Legislative Council and the Joint Budget Committee.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday he was saddened by Files’ case.

“It is always a sad day when a public official violates the public trust,” Hutchinson said. “I have known Jake most of his life, and when he was charged, he resigned and accepted responsibility. … It is up to all of us in public service to do right and restore public confidence.”

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