Preferred Family Healthcare Federal embezzlement and bribery investigation
April 1, 2022- Preferred Family Healthcare, a nonprofit based out of Springfield, Missouri has been ordered to pay more than $8 million in forfeiture and restitution to the federal government and the state of Arkansas under the terms of a non-prosecution agreement. This comes in acknowledgement to the criminal conduct of Preferred Family Healthcare's former employees and officers.
This $8 million ruling comes in relation to a federal embezzlement and bribery investigation. U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore for the Western District of Missouri stated that, “Several former officers and employees are being prosecuted in separate criminal cases for their individual criminal conduct. This non-prosecution agreement holds the charity itself responsible for their actions as agents of the charity. Public tax dollars were stolen and misused in the course of this public corruption scheme, and through this agreement and these separate prosecutions, those dollars are being restored to the public coffers.”
Preferred Family Healthcare provides a variety of services to individuals in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois, including mental and behavioral health treatment and counseling, substance abuse treatment and counseling, employment assistance, aid to individuals with developmental disabilities, and medical services.
By signing the non-prosecution agreement, representatives of Preferred Family Healthcare admitted that former officers and employees of the charity engaged in a conspiracy to, amongst other criminal activity, embezzle funds from the charity and to bribe several elected state officials in the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Arkansas Senate. Preferred Family Healthcare will forfeit more than $6.9 million to the federal government and pay more than $1.1 million in restitution to the state of Arkansas related to the misuse of funds from the state’s general improvement fund.
Several former executives from the charity, former members of the Arkansas state legislature, and others have pleaded guilty in federal court as part of the multi-jurisdiction, federal investigation. These people include:
Former Chief Executive Officer, Marilyn Luann Nolan
Former Director of Operations and Executive Vice President Robin Raveendran
Former executive and head of clinical operations Keith Fraser Noble
Former employee and head of operations and lobbying in Arkansas, Milton Russell Cranford
Political Consultant Donald Andrew Jones
Former Arkansas State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson
Former Arkansas State Representative Eddie Wayne Cooper
Former Arkansas State Senator and State Representative Henry (Hank) Wilkins IV
The former chief operation officer and chief financial officer of Preferred Family Healthcare were indicted by a federal grand jury in March, 2019. They pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial which is scheduled for later this year.
This is a combined investigation with the IRS and FBI along with the Western District of Missouri, the Western District of Arkansas, the Eastern District of Arkansas, and the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice Criminal Division.