FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — An orthodontist who owned several businesses that operated clinics in Arkansas was indicted for perpetrating a bribery and fraud scheme involving Jeremy Hutchinson.
Benjamin Burris, 47, of Windermere, Florida, was charged today with 14 counts of honest services wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.
Burris and Hutchinson devised a scheme in or about February 2014, in which Burris hired and retained Hutchinson as an attorney and paid Hutchinson retainer payments in exchange in part for Hutchinson to take official action as an Arkansas legislator to benefit Burris and his orthodontic companies.
Between February 2014 and November 2016, Burris paid Hutchinson, through Hutchinson’s law firm, approximately $157,500 and provided Hutchinson with gifts including free orthodontic services for his family and the use of a private plane to travel to a college football game.
Hutchinson, in return, used his official position as a state senator to draft and file legislation to amend a law restricting dental practices that Burris wanted to change.
In addition, Hutchinson advised and influenced members of the Arkansas Department of Human Services to expedite the approval of Medicaid applications for physician employees of Burris’s clinics.
Burris’ arraignment will be scheduled at a later date.