by Shannon Cay
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A former charity executive who was also an Arkansas lobbyist appears in federal court for his role in a nearly million-dollar bribery conspiracy involving a Springfield health care organization.
United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Timothy A. Garrison says 56-year-old Milton Russell Cranford from Rogers, Arkansas faces eight counts of receiving a bribe by an agent of an organization that receives federal funds.
He has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
The indictment alleges that Cranford and co-conspirator 51-year-old Eddie Wayne Cooper from Melbourne, Arkansas, received 264-thousand dollars in secret kickback payments from co-conspirator Donald Andrew Jones, from February 2011 until January 2017.
According to the indictment, the charity paid Jones more than 973-thousand dollars to provide advocacy services for the charity, including direct contact with legislators, legislators’ offices, and government officials, in order to influence elected and appointed public officials to the financial benefit of the charity, including attempting to steer grants and other sources of funding to the charity.
Jones allegedly paid a total of 264-thousand dollars to Cranford and Cooper. Most of the funds were paid to Cranford or one of his firms, the indictment says.
The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Cranford to forfeit to the government all property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses.