- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 31, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The former head of the Upper Cumberland Development District has pleaded guilty to federal theft charges.

Media outlets report that 55-year-old Wendy Askins entered her plea Tuesday and will receive a sentence of 18 months behind bars. Askins was accused of stealing government money to build a lavish home for herself and her daughter.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Askins admits to using funding from the Upper Cumberland Development District to buy property that she said would serve as a senior living facility. However, the facility became Askin’s home.

Prosecutors say Askins tried to hide where $233,000 came from by telling an employee to falsify minutes of a board meeting.

Askins is also facing state charges. Her attorney, Peter Strianse, says he’s worked out a plea deal on those charges.

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