According to Federal investigators, Milton “Rusty” Cranford who is a defendant tried to procure an assassin to kill his co-defendant Donald Jones in a Springfield charity fraud case.
As indicated by court reports documented on Monday, an audio recording of Cranford actually attempting to persuade a man identified as “Person A” to kill Jones.
Cranford aged 56, of Rogers, Arkansas, was arraigned on nine federal charges in February in relation to embezzlement at Springfield-based charity Preferred Family Healthcare, where he was once an executive.
The reason Cranford tried to assassinate Jones is that Jones pleaded guilty to his role in the charity scheme back in December and was working together with the government.
A motion was filed by Federal prosecutors on Monday asking that Cranford is held in custody without bond before his trial.
A recorded conversation during which Cranford supposedly told Person A that Jones “needs to go… he needs to be gone,” while Cranford made a gun-shooting gesture with his hand was part of the government’s evidence for holding Cranford.
According to court documents on January 2, Cranford reached out to “Person A” who is an ex-convict with a criminal record that includes robbery and shootings and said he had a task for “Person A” that required a “piece,” which is slang for a gun.
Person A, meanwhile, contacted the FBI, which gave him a wire.
According to court documents, when Cranford and “Person A” got together 7 days later, Cranford told, “Person A” he was afraid Jones was going to lie to ensnare him in the charity scheme.
As indicated by the court document, when Cranford and “Person A” met, Cranford likewise talked about how he once got somebody out of jail for a murder in Fouke, Arkansas. The names of those associated with that murder are redacted.
Towards the end of the meeting, Cranford gave “Person A” $500 in cash and swore they would talk again later.
According to court documents, Cranford then sold some of his assets, changed his appearance by growing his hair and moving out of his home.
At the point when law enforcement arrested Cranford on February 21, he had a .45-caliber pistol and $17,700 cash on him, as indicated by court documents.
It was believed by Federal prosecutors that Cranford was getting ready to hand over the money and the handgun to “Person A” before instructing “Person A” to kill Jones.
Cranford first attempted to persuade Jones to lie to the government that the kickbacks Cranford got as part of the charity scheme were really legitimate payments for work Cranford had done, according to Federal Prosecutors.
At the point when Cranford’s attempt to convince Jones to lie was unsuccessful, Federal prosecutors say Cranford chose to raise the stakes and have Jones killed.
It was also written by Prosecutors that Cranford has a drug abuse problem and is known as a hotshot at a casino in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Preferred Family Healthcare and its auxiliaries give a different kind of services, including mental and behavioral health treatment, substance abuse treatment and employment assistance.
Various administrators of the charity were involved in a $4 million scheme connected to unlawful political contributions, unreported lobbying, and kickbacks, according to Federal prosecutors.
A representative for Preferred Family Healthcare told the News-Leader in December the organization was completely coordinating with the investigation and had made proactive move to address issues identified by the government.