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Multiple former executives at Springfield-based Preferred Family Healthcare have been implicated in a multimillion-dollar bribe and embezzlement scheme.
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Multiple former executives at Springfield-based Preferred Family Healthcare have been implicated in a multimillion-dollar bribe and embezzlement scheme.

Former PFH exec sentenced to prison time

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A former Arkansas lobbyist and executive of Springfield-based Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. was sentenced in federal court yesterday for his role in a multimillion-dollar bribe and embezzlement scheme.

Milton, aka Rusty, Cranford, of Rogers, Arkansas, was ordered to spend seven years in federal prison without parole and forfeit $3.7 million to the government, according to a news release from the office of Tim Garrison, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Cranford, who pleaded guilty in June 2018 to one count of federal program bribery, previously ran PFH’s operations and lobbying efforts in Arkansas. In his guilty plea, Cranford admitted that he and other executives at PFH paid bribes to Arkansas legislators attempt to put agency budgets on hold, sponsor and vote for bills, and request legislative audits in favor of the Springfield nonprofit.

Cranford and other PFH executives conspired to embezzle funds at the expense of the organization. Among the actions, Cranford and another charity executive conducted an illegal kick-back scheme, according to the release.

This summer, former Arkansas state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from PFH officials. He was charged in an April indictment along with Bontiea and Tom Goss, PFH’s former chief operating officer and chief financial officer, respectively. The Gosses, along with former CEO Marilyn Nolan, were fired by PFH in January 2018 after they were implicated by prosecutors in the scheme, Springfield Business Journal previously reported.

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