Florida dentist gets a year in prison for role in public corruption scheme

Benjamin Burris, DDS, was sentenced to a year in federal prison for his role in a corruption scheme involving a former state senator, the U.S. State's Attorney's Office for the Western District of Arkansas said Jan. 24. 

Dr. Burris, now based in Florida, operated several orthodontics clinics in Arkansas. In 2014, he met with state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson to discuss hiring Mr. Hutchinson as his corporate legal counsel. Dr. Burris admitted that he wanted to hire Mr. Hutchinson so he could influence and request official action from Mr. Hutchinson. Dr. Burris paid Mr. Hutchinson $157,500 in retainer fees and assigned Mr. Hutchinson legal work, including work that benefited Dr. Burris' business. 

Beginning in 2015, Mr. Hutchinson filed legislative proposals to remove specialist restrictions for orthodontists, including a measure that was signed into law in March 2017. 

Dr. Burris pleaded guilty in September 2021. He was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison, followed by one year of supervised release and a $157,500 fine.

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