Jake C. Files (born March 27, 1972) is a Republican politician from Fort Smith, Arkansas. Files represented portions of the Arkansas River Valley in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003, and in the Arkansas Senate from 2011 to 2018.

Jake C. Files
Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 8th district
In office
January 2013 – February 9, 2018
Preceded byCecile Bledsoe
Succeeded byFrank Glidewell
Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 13th district
In office
2011–2013
Succeeded byAlan Clark
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 12th district
In office
January 1999 – January 2003
Personal details
Born (1972-03-27) March 27, 1972 (age 49)
Norman, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Michaela Mitchell Files
ChildrenKate, Liz, and Bella Files
ResidenceFort Smith
Sebastian County
Arkansas
Alma materOuachita Baptist University
Arkansas State University
OccupationBusinessman

He pleaded guilty in 2018 to wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering relating to misuse of the state's surplus money and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

BackgroundEdit

A native of Norman, Oklahoma, Files graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in accounting from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. Previously, he had attended Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia.[1] He is the owner of FFH Construction, a general construction firm. From 1997 to 2004, he was the president and superintendent of the Fort Smith Christian School. Prior to that, he was hired to help start operations of the Baldor Electric Company plant in Ozark, Arkansas, as the accountant and materials manager. He and his wife, the former Michaela K. Mitchell (born 1977), have four children and are active members of Grand Avenue Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Fort Smith. The senator coaches Little League baseball and basketball.[2]

Political lifeEdit

From 1999 to 2003, he represented District 12 in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Files was first elected to the State Senate in 2010 in District 13.[2] His district number was switched through redistricting from District 13 to District 8, effective January 2013, and his district boundaries changed to include most of the cities of Greenwood and Hackett.[1] He served on Senate committees for Revenue & Taxation, Transportation, Technology, Legislative Affairs, Joint Budget, and Senate Efficiency. He was also a member of the Joint (House and Senate) Legislative Committee on Auditing. He was chairman of the Revenue and Taxation Committee.

Fraud scandalEdit

In early 2017, Files was accused of submitting false bids for the River Valley Sports Complex, a planned park of softball fields at Chaffee Crossing in Fort Smith. Though initially denying the charges,[3] Files pleaded guilty to wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in January 2018.[4] He resigned his senate seat in February.[5]

PleaEdit

The plea agreement says Files and Lee Webb, a member of the Sebastian County Election Commission, convinced the City of Fort Smith to appropriate $1.6 million for the project in 2014. Files then created three fictitious companies to bid for the project. He later proposed steering $150,000 of public funds from the state's General Improvement Fund (GIF) to the project.[6] Files had control over the funds, and was chairman of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee. He pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $83,900 in restitution.[4][5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Jake Files' Biography". votesmart.org. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Jake Files" (PDF). arkleg.state.ar.us. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  3. ^ Jordan, Kate (February 20, 2017). "State Senator: Claims Of False Bids For Fort Smith Complex Aren't True". KFSM. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b Hughes, Dave (January 29, 2018). "Arkansas lawmaker pleads guilty to wire fraud, money laundering; governor says senator to resign soon". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Michael Tilley (June 18, 2018). "Former Sen. Jake Files sentenced to 18 months in prison, judge calls violations 'egregious' (Updated)". Talk Business & Politics.
  6. ^ Hammersly, Lisa (19 February 2017). "In dark on bids Arkansas senator submitted, companies say". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
Preceded by Arkansas State Senator for District 8
(Sebastian County)

Jake C. Files
2013 – February 9, 2018

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Missing
Arkansas State Senator for District 13

Jake C. Files
2011–2013

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Missing
Arkansas State Representative for District 12
(Fort Smith)

Jake C. Files
1999–2003

Succeeded by
Missing