A former Sebastian County state senator sentenced to federal prison for money laundering and fraud charges has been released to a halfway house and his release date was shortened by three months.
Jake C. Files has been transferred from El Reno Federal Correctional Institute, where he reported for an 18-month sentence last August, to the Dallas Residential Reentry Management in Grand Prairie, Texas. His new release date is Nov. 11, according to a court document from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Arkansas.
The move comes two months after a federal judge denied File’s request to be released from prison for home confinement based on the First Step Act of 2018.
According to court documents, Files submitted a motion Aug. 2 seeking reconsideration of release to home confinement but U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes of the Western District of Arkansas in Fort Smith denied Files' motion because he had not shown he “exhausted administrative remedies” with the Bureau of Prisons. The court did not have jurisdiction to grant the “judicial relief” Files sought, according to a document submitted in response to the request by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas.
“After a district court sentences a federal offender, the Attorney General, through the Bureau of Prisons, has the responsibility for administering the federal sentence,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra E. Jenner wrote in response to Files’ motion.
In a five-page, hand-written petition filed Aug. 2 for judicial relief based on the First Step Act, Files describes how he had participated in many “programming activities and education options” and was the “top inmate” in a horticulture program where he earned a master gardener’s certification from Oklahoma State University. Files also noted he had taught classes in the education department and completed more than 40 additional hours of programming.
“Petitioner has led in worship activities and leads a Saturday evening worship time each week, and he has mentored many inmates helping them find purpose, set goals, and put plans together for living productive lives after prison,” the petition states. “In addition, Petitioner has received no disciplinary incidents and has earned 100% of his good time. He has taken this time to invest in himself and read over 70 books and written extensively. He has evaluated his past and specific decisions made and how he might be able to make a difference moving forward.”
Files also noted in his petition for judicial relief he has been married for 21 years and has four children.
“He has also been a licensed real estate agent and general contractor, and he plans to have those professional licenses renewed upon his re-entry into the world,” Files wrote in his petition.
Based on a formula prescribed in the First Step Act of 2018, “10 days of time credits for every 30 days of successful participation in evidence-based recidivism reduction programming or productive activities,” Files stated there should be 74 additional days of home confinement (222 days divided by three). He also had requested that per existing law, he be awarded “good time” release of Nov. 22, having served 85% of his sentence and be allowed to serve the rest of his sentence in home confinement, where he could “pursue employment, repay his court-ordered restitution, and be involved in his family life.”
On June 18, 2018, U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III said Files, then 46, had committed an “egregious violation of public trust” and accepted the U.S. Attorney’s Office request of 18 months for each count of wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering of about $27,000. The sentences ran concurrently. Files was also ordered to pay $83,903 in restitution.
Files also admitted to submitting a materially false loan application in November 2016 as part of a scheme to secure about $56,700 from First Western Bank, the U.S. Attorney’s Office added.
He resigned from the state Senate Jan. 30, 2018, a day after pleading guilty to falsifying bids and pocketing thousands of dollars in state funds intended for construction of the River Valley Sports Complex.