Ohio

Lawyers: Appalachian Trail was client's 'road to redemption'

  • FILE - This undated file photo made available by the Butler County Jail in Virginia shows James T. Hammes of Lexington, Ky. Hammes is scheduled to be sentenced June 22, 2016, after pleading guilty in 2015 to wire fraud and agreeing to pay back millions embezzled from his employer, a Cincinnati-based Pepsi-Cola bottler. Federal prosecutors said Wednesday, June 1, 2016, that they want a prison term of more than seven years for Hammes, who spent six years as a fugitive, much of it hiking the Appalachian Trail. (Butler County Jail via AP, File)

    FILE - This undated file photo made available by the Butler County Jail in Virginia shows James T. Hammes of Lexington, Ky. Hammes is scheduled to be sentenced June 22, 2016, after pleading guilty in 2015 to wire fraud and agreeing to pay back millions embezzled from his employer, a Cincinnati-based Pepsi-Cola bottler. Federal prosecutors said Wednesday, June 1, 2016, that they want a prison term of more than seven years for Hammes, who spent six years as a fugitive, much of it hiking the Appalachian Trail. (Butler County Jail via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This 2008 Kentucky driver's license photo shows James T. Hammes of Lexington, Ky. Hammes is scheduled to be sentenced June 22, 2016, after pleading guilty in 2015 to wire fraud and agreeing to pay back millions embezzled from his employer, a Cincinnati-based Pepsi-Cola bottler. Federal prosecutors said Wednesday, June 1, 2016, that they want a prison term of more than seven years for Hammes, who spent six years as a fugitive, much of it hiking the Appalachian Trail. (Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles/WCPO-TV Cincinnati via AP, File)

    FILE - This 2008 Kentucky driver's license photo shows James T. Hammes of Lexington, Ky. Hammes is scheduled to be sentenced June 22, 2016, after pleading guilty in 2015 to wire fraud and agreeing to pay back millions embezzled from his employer, a Cincinnati-based Pepsi-Cola bottler. Federal prosecutors said Wednesday, June 1, 2016, that they want a prison term of more than seven years for Hammes, who spent six years as a fugitive, much of it hiking the Appalachian Trail. (Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles/WCPO-TV Cincinnati via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

Attorneys for a Kentucky accountant who embezzled $8.7 million before going on the run say hiking the Appalachian Trail for six years as a fugitive put him on "the road to redemption."

A sentencing memorandum filed Friday by lawyers for James T. Hammes (HAM'-uhs) seeks a three-year prison sentence. That's less than half of what the federal government is recommending.

Hammes will be sentenced June 22 in Cincinnati. He pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud and agreed to pay back millions diverted from his employer, a Pepsi-Cola bottler.

The U.S. attorney's office seeks more than seven years in prison, citing the amount Hammes embezzled and the fact that he fled.

His attorneys say he has no criminal past, is remorseful and has spent years contemplating his wrongdoing.