Little Rock businessmen’s fraud case ends in mistrial – Arkansas News

Little Rock businessmen’s fraud case ends in mistrial – Arkansas News

A mistrial was declared Thursday in the case of two Little Rock businessmen accused of defrauding a government program that helps service-disabled veterans after jurors remained in their second day of deliberations.

Ross Alan Hope, owner of a Little Rock-based heating and air company called Powers of Arkansas; and his best friend, Mikel Kullander, owner of Kullander Construction in Little Rock; faced 28 felony counts.

They were accused of falsely claiming that a business they formed in 2007, DAV Construction, was owned and operated by a service-disabled veteran, so that it would qualify for million-dollar contracts set aside for veteran-owned businesses.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Ray White and Stephanie Mazzanti sought, over the week-and-a-half trial, to prove that the men had the intent to deceive the government from the time they formed business. Defense attorneys — Tim Dudley and former U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks for Hope, and former U.S. Attorney Jane Duke for Kullander — contended that the men never intended to commit a crime.

The federal jury began deliberations Wednesday afternoon and indicated that evening that a verdict wasn’t close. Members remained deadlocked shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, when a mistrial was declared.

Read Friday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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