A Kentucky man plead guilty Monday to embezzling more than $8 million dollars from the Cincinnati based Pepsi Company.
The FBI announced it has arrested James T. Hammes, 53, in May and charged him with 75 counts of wire fraud and money laundering for allegedly embezzling $8,711,282.42 between 1998 and 2009. The FBI said Hammes fled the area after being interviewed by a federal agent in February of 2009.
According to the charges, Hammes opened an unauthorized vendor bank account, creating an illegitimate account payable to the vendor. Hammes allegedly transferred the stolen money into his personal bank and brokerage accounts.
“I want to thank the hard-working Special Agents and police officers who have been involved with this investigation over the last several years,” stated Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers. “Their persistent work led to the arrest of Mr. Hammes and will allow for the criminal justice process to continue in this case.”
Federal authorities announced Monday that Hammes will pay restitution of $8.6 million dollars on one count of wire fraud.
However, officials are dropping 74 other counts of wire fraud and money laundering in exchange for an explanation of how he diverted the millions.
Hammes had reportedly spent much of the past six years hiking the Appalachian trail until he was allegedly recognized by a fellow hiker after seeing him in an episode of "American Greed."