A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of the former president of a private Christian college in northwestern Arkansas who pleaded guilty in a kickback scheme involving state legislators.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit on Tuesday upheld the three-year prison sentence of former Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Paris, convicted on one count of conspiracy, was granted the right to appeal after pleading guilty in April 2018.
Paris and consultant Randell Shelton were accused of funneling cash bribes in 2013-2014 to then-Sen. Jon Woods and former Rep. Micah Neal. In exchange, Woods directed over $715,000 in state grants to the college. The kickbacks were routed through Shelton’s consulting business, formerly based in Springdale.
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