UPDATED: Spokesman for U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri tells Missourinet that this is an ongoing investigation.
A federal grand jury has indicted two former executives of a Springfield, Missouri-based charity for embezzlement, bribes and illegal campaign contributions. This is another indictment in a series of prosecutions against former executives and staff of the non-profit Preferred Family Healthcare.
Preferred Family Healthcare has cooperated in the two and a half year investigation.
The case was unsealed Thursday against Bontiea Bernedette Goss, 63, her husband, Tommy Ray Goss, aka “Tom,” 63, both residents of Springfield, Missouri, and Boulder, Colorado, and Jeremy Young Hutchinson, 45, of Little Rock, Arkansas
According to the case summary, the indictment alleges that the Gosses, while high-level executives at Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. (formerly known as Alternative Opportunities Inc.), and Hutchinson, who is an attorney and served as a state senator in the Arkansas Senate from 2011 to 2018, along with others, participated in a conspiracy from 2005 to November 2017 to embezzle and misapply the funds of a charitable organization that received federal funds, to pay bribes and kickbacks to elected officials, including Hutchinson.
According to the indictment, in exchange for the bribes and kickbacks offered by the Gosses and other co-conspirators, Hutchinson and other elected officials allegedly provided favorable legislative and official action for the charity, including directing funds from the state’s General Improvement Fund.
The indictment also alleges that the Gosses embezzled and funneled charity funds for their personal benefit, including:
- causing the charity to pay for chartered air flights for the Gosses to commute between their home in Colorado and their work at the charity’s office in Springfield;
- providing millions of dollars in interest-free loans to their for-profit companies;
- charging the charity inflated prices to lease vehicles from their for-profit companies;
- renting charity-owned commercial real estate to one of their for-profit companies at below-market rates or, in some instances, for free; and
- using charity funds to pay for personal services for themselves, including child and pet care, housekeeping and cleaning their personal residences, picking up and delivering groceries, and shoveling snow, among other personal services paid for by the charity.
The Alternative Opportunities charity merged in 2015 with Preferred Family Healthcare that serves patients in Missouri and neighboring states. Services include mental and behavioral health treatment and counseling, substance abuse treatment and counseling, employment assistance, aid to individuals with developmental disabilities and medical services.
In a statement provided to Missourinet, PFH says “At the time of the merger proposal, Mr. and Mrs. Goss knew that federal prosecutors were investigating public corruption by AO, but they concealed the existence of that investigation from PFH.”
In September of 2018, PFH sued the Gosses, other former staff of AO, and others who worked with the Gosses for actual and punitive damages.