The former head of a defunct Arkansas nonprofit that helped at-risk youth pleaded guilty Thursday to diverting more than $120,000 from the group to an unnamed state senator in a widening corruption probe that has already ensnared several former lawmakers.
Jerry Walsh pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to divert more than $380,000 from South Arkansas Youth Services without the authority of the organization’s board of directors. Federal prosecutors say the scheme involved diverting the money to a state senator identified only as “Arkansas Senator C” and the lobbying firm of Rusty Cranford, who pleaded guilty last month to bribing two former lawmakers and a state senator.
Prosecutors said Walsh hired the state senator, who is also an attorney, in 2013 and paid him in the form of retainers and legal fees but with the expectation he would not perform any legal work.
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