Former Presidential Candidate Sentenced to Prison for Fraud in NWA


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A Tennessee man who came to Northwest Arkansas and announced his bid to run for president has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Jason Jerrell Smith, 34, of Germantown, Tenn., was sentenced Thursday to 120 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for one count of passing counterfeit securities of an organization. He was also ordered to pay restitution, the amount of which will be determined at a later date, according to a news release issued by Duane Kees, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.

Smith was visiting Rogers and Bentonville in June 2017 when he announced he was running for president of the United States and falsely represented himself as “Joshua Gaters,” according to the news release.

“During his visit to Northwest Arkansas, Smith wrote and passed a counterfeit check on a local bank (sic) in the name of ‘Gaters and Lester Realty Group,'” the news release states. 

That check was written in the amount of $22,212 and was alleged to be for the lease of office space.

“No such checking account existed with the bank,” the news release states.

Smith pleaded guilty in April 2018.

Here’s a timeline on Smith:

May 2017 — Announces 2020 presidential bid in Bentonville.

June 2018 — KNWA/Fox24 investigations show Smith has history of bad checks and criminal history in Eureka Springs.

November 2017 — Smith is booked into the Shelby County, Tenn., Detention Center.

February 2018 — Smith extradited to Northwest Arkansas; booked into the Washington County Detention Center.

Late February 2018 — Smith pleaded not guilty to fraud charges in Fayetteville District Court.

October 2018 — Smith found guilty of fraud charges; gets 10 years in federal prison.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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