Eccelsia College President Changes Plea to Guilty in Kickback Case

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Oren Paris.jpg

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — New details have emerged in the Ecclesia College case involving a former state senator and two other men. 

Ecclesia College President, Oren Paris III, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning kickback charges after previously maintaining his innocence.

Paris pleaded guilty to fraud charges. 

Paris, along with former State Senator Jon Woods and consultant Randell Shelton, Jr. was accused of funneling state money into an account at Ecclesia College in Springdale.

In turn, Woods and Paris would receive kickbacks from the school. 

The U.S. Department of Justice alleges former State Representative, Micah Neal, and Woods took kickbacks for almost $550,000 in state grants directed to Ecclesia College.

The third man accused is Randell Shelton, Jr. He’s listed in the indictment as part of a consulting company that was used to pay and conceal the kickbacks.

In December, a defense attorney for Paris filed paperwork for the case to be dismissed. The dismissal documents state quote “What we have before us is clear, willful destruction of evidence.” A judge ruled the request for dismissal was not granted.

Woods trial is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. on April 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

To read more on the Woods case CLICK HERE

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