Man facing $8.7M embezzlement case hid on Appalachian Trail - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Man facing $8.7M embezzlement case hid on Appalachian Trail

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By DAN SEWELL, Associated Press

CINCINNATI (AP) - Facing accusations that he had embezzled nearly $9 million from his Ohio-based employer, a Kentucky accountant apparently decided to go for a walk in the woods.

Fifty-three-year-old James Hammes is scheduled for trial next month in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati on 2009 charges including wire fraud and money laundering. The FBI arrested him this May at a bed-and-breakfast in Damascus, Virginia. It's along the Appalachian Trail, where the white-collar crime suspect is believed to have transformed himself into "Bismarck," a bearded, avid hiker.

The FBI cites ongoing investigation and won't discuss details. Court documents indicate there have been plea negotiations.

Guidebook writer David Miller says as Bismarck, Hammes had high visibility on the Appalachian Trail. He speculates it gave him a sense of community while on the lam.

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