Wendy Askins, the former Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Development District will appear in U.S. District Court Monday for a change of plea hearing.
On Tuesday, September 8, U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger signed an order scheduling the hearing for Monday, September 14 at 1:30 p.m.
Askins' plea deal with federal prosecutors has not yet been made public.
Both Askins and the former UCDD Deputy Director Larry Webb were indicted in September 2013 for their participation in a scheme to commit bank fraud and to steal federal and state funds intended to promote economic and housing development.
Webb entered a plea last month to one count of federal bank fraud and will be sentenced November 24 though he apparently faces no fines or prison time.
During his plea hearing, Webb acknowledged that he, along with Askins, defrauded the Bank of Putnam County when applying for a loan on May 27, 2010. To obtain the loan, Webb told bank officers that the UCDD and CRDC boards of directors had approved the loan request to fund a UCDD program called “Living the Dream", which was supposed to be a residential home for seniors. Webb submitted fake CRDC resolutions with the loan application stating that he and Askins were permitted to obtain a $750,000 loan for the “Living the Dream” project. The Bank of Putnam County relied upon the fraudulent documents and funded $731,000 for the “Living the Dream” project. Webb admitted that neither UCDD nor the CRDC had authorized a loan for “Living the Dream” and further admitted that a portion of the loan proceeds had been used to build a luxury, personal residence for Askins.
UCDD is a quasi-governmental agency that receives federal and state funds and is responsible for promoting economic development throughout the 14 counties located in the Upper Cumberland Region of Tennessee. CRDC operates under the UCDD umbrella and assists in the creation of affordable housing.
Had she gone to trial and been convicted on the original charges, Askins faced up to 225 years in prison and a $6,750,000 fine