$200000, 7 years, ADHS, Amanda Vaughn, Arkansas Counseling Associates, Arkansas Department of Human Services, bid for retrial, conviction, Criminal Division, defense attorney, deputy director, FBI, federal funds bribery, fine, honest services fraud, interstate travel in aid of bribery, Jan. 3 2017, John Keller, Judge Billy Roy Wilson, Justice Department, Lauren Bell, Leslie R. Caldwell, Little Rock AR, local pastor, Lord’s Ranch, Maxus, Memphis TN, Phillip Carter, Public Integrity Section, Robert Cary, sentencing, Steven Jones, Ted Suhl, Theodore E. Suhl, Trinity Behavioral Health, Warm Springs AR, Washington D.C., will appeal, Williams & Connolly LLP
The sentence was announced this afternoon by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas today said Suhl, who has been free on bond, would not be required to enter prison until Jan. 3, 2017.
Theodore E. Suhl, 50, of Warm Springs, Ark., was previously convicted of two counts of honest services fraud, one count of federal funds bribery and one count of interstate travel in aid of bribery.
In addition to his prison sentence, Suhl was ordered to pay a $200,000 fine. Suhl’s attorneys indicated he has the resources to pay the fine.
Suhl was convicted by a federal jury on July 20. He was acquitted on a third count of honest services fraud and a conspiracy count.
The evidence presented at trial showed that Suhl bribed former deputy director of ADHS, Steven B. Jones, using intermediaries Phillip W. Carter and a local pastor.
Beginning in approximately April 2007, Suhl, Jones and Carter periodically met at restaurants in Memphis, Tennessee, or in rural Arkansas in order for Suhl to request assistance for his companies from Jones in his capacity as deputy director of ADHS. Jones agreed to perform official acts that benefitted Suhl and Suhl’s businesses and provided internal ADHS information to Suhl. In exchange for Jones’s agreement to perform official acts, Suhl paid Jones by funneling cash payments through the pastor’s church and providing the bribe payments to Jones in cash so that the transactions would not be easily traceable. Putting Jones on Suhl’s illicit payroll paved the way for more than $1.5 million in profits for Suhl’s juvenile mental health counseling business.
Suhl made the millions in public money from operation of a residential facility once known as the Lord’s Ranch, later renamed Trinity Behavioral Health. He also operated outpatient facilities under the names Arkansas Counseling Associates and Maxus.
Suhl Wednesday lost a bid for a new trial.
Suhl’s attorneys will appeal to the federal Eighth Circuit, and this morning, they filed a motion for his release pending appeal. Suhl’s attorney, Robert M. Cary, is a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP.
Jones pleaded guilty to federal funds bribery and conspiracy for his involvement in the scheme and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Carter pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal funds bribery and honest services wire fraud and was sentenced to 24 months in prison.
The FBI’s Little Rock Field Office investigated the case.
Trial Attorneys John D. Keller, Lauren Bell and Amanda R. Vaughn of the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section prosecuted the case.