KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jake Butcher, the entrepreneur whose glittering financial empire crumbled in one of the worst bank crashes in U.S. history, pleaded guilty to bank fraud Monday and agreed to plead guilty to additional charges in coming weeks.
The plea-bargaining agreement culminated a two-year federal investigation of Butcher-related bank failures that left the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. holding $699 million in uncollectable loans.
Butcher entered guilty pleas to eight counts of bank fraud, and he told U.S. District Judge William K. Thomas of plans to enter guilty pleas in Memphis, Tenn., and London, Ky., on bank-fraud charges. He also will return to Knoxville to plead guilty to four counts of tax evasion.
Butcher, 48, accepted the agreement, in which he admitted defrauding his banks out of $40.8 million. As each paragraph of the plea-bargain agreement was read, Butcher rose in court to say "Yes sir," when the judge asked him if the charges were correct.