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April 22, 2011

Little Rock - Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced today the sentencing of former North Little Rock city aldermen, Cary L. Gaines, age 65. The Honorable Billy Roy Wilson, United States District Judge, sentenced Gaines to four months imprisonment with three years supervised release. This sentence followed the United States’s request for a downward departure based on Gaines’s assistance to the United States in its prosecution of George Thompson and another former North Little Rock Alderman, Samuel Baggett.

On December 6, 2010, Gaines pled guilty to Count 14 of the third superseding indictment filed in this case which charged him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. At the time of the plea, Gaines agreed that in late 2008 and throughout 2009, he was a North Little Rock city Alderman. Beginning in or about December 2008 and continuing thereafter up to the time of the indictment, Gaines agreed with his friend, George Thompson, to arrange projects between the city of North Little Rock and Thompson’s chosen vendor, who would agree to pay kickbacks out of the City funds he received for the projects. Thompson agreed to credit those kickback payments to a personal debt Gaines’ owed Thompson. The agreement started as an agreement for Gaines to facilitate getting the City’s concrete contract for Thompson’s chosen vendor. When the concrete project stalled out, the object of the agreement was still to get a project to a vendor who would pay kickbacks. The project itself moved from a concrete project to a city-funded landscaping project. When Thompson’s friend did not work out as the vendor, Gaines and Thompson continued with their agreement and considered recruiting a second vendor. In order to execute the scheme, Cary Gaines sent an email regarding the project. The scheme was never fulfilled.

"Public corruption cannot and will not be tolerated,” stated United States Attorney Thyer. "The citizens of the United States and the State of Arkansas are entitled to have its public officials conduct their business ethically and above board. Public officials are to work for the benefit of citizens; not for their own personal gain."

This investigation was conducted by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Arkansas State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Laura G. Hoey.

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Christopher R. Thyer

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