[WORLD NEWS ★★]
EMBEZZLER HID AS A HIKER FOR SIX YEARS
(P1) A former bottling company accountant who HID IN PLAIN SIGHT for six years as a hiker on the APPALACHIAN TRAIL pleaded guilty on Friday in U.S. federal court in Cincinnati to WIRE FRAUD as part of an $8.7 million EMBEZZLING scheme.
(P2) James Hammes, 53, who fled in February 2009 after FBI agents interviewed him about the fraud, agreed to pay nearly $7.7 million RESTITUTION during a HEARING Friday before U.S. District Chief Judge Susan Dlott.
(P3) Hammes faces up to 20 years in prison. SENTENCING will be at a later date.
(P4) The former Lexington, Kentucky resident spent the majority of his six years as a FUGITIVE hiking the Appalachian Trail and living under an ALIAS.
(P5) Hammes had been well-known along the 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail, which STRETCHES from Georgia to Maine, in his years as a fugitive, FREQUENTING BED AND BREAKFASTS.
(P6) Hikers knew him by the trail name “Bismarck” until his arrest by federal agents at an INN along the trail in Damascus, Virginia.
(P7) Hammes was accused of embezzling about $8.7 million from G&J Pepsi-Cola bottlers from 1998 to 2009. He had been called to company HEADQUARTERS in Cincinnati where he was asked about the missing money before he disappeared.
(P8) Hammes was accused of wire fraud and MONEY LAUNDERING in an INDICTMENT filed after he fled.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Why did it take the police six years to find this criminal?
- Are there any famous criminals from your country who are currently fugitives?
- Embezzling is a very common WHITE-COLLAR CRIME, and usually involves company officials who handle finances. Why is embezzling such a common crime?
- James Hammes’ appearance changed a lot when he let his hair and beard grow. Have you ever made a major change to your appearance?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Hide in plain sight
- Wire fraud
- Bed and breakfast
- Money laundering
- White-collar crime