Ohio

Criminal who fled to Appalachian Trail pleads guilty to wire fraud

  • This undated file photo made available by the Butler County Jail in Virginia shows James Hammes of Lexington, Ky. (FBI via AP)

    This undated file photo made available by the Butler County Jail in Virginia shows James Hammes of Lexington, Ky. (FBI via AP)

  • This 2008 file photo shows the driver's license photo of James Hammes. (Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles/WCPO-TV Cincinnati via AP)

    This 2008 file photo shows the driver's license photo of James Hammes. (Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles/WCPO-TV Cincinnati via AP)

A Kentucky man captured this year along the Appalachian Trail has pleaded guilty in Ohio to a wire fraud count in an embezzlement case authorities say began 17 years ago.

Fifty-three-year-old James Hammes, of Lexington, entered the plea in federal court Friday. Under a plea deal, he also agrees to pay restitution in the $8.7 million case.

The judge says she will sentence him after a pre-sentence investigation. The government has agreed that it will drop all other charges.

Hammes was indicted in 2009 on 75 counts of wire fraud and money laundering alleging he embezzled over a decade from his Cincinnati-based employer. The FBI said he fled and was arrested in May in Virginia. He became known as the veteran Appalachian Trail hiker "Bismarck."