Friday, July 19, 2002

Lawyer: Erpenbeck may plead guilty

Deal could spare builder notoriety, shorten any prison time

By James McNair,
and Patrick Crowley,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The lawyer for Bill Erpenbeck said Thursday that the embattled home builder is dangling a guilty plea to federal prosecutors who are investigating him and others for bank fraud.

        Glenn Whitaker, a Cincinnati lawyer, acknowledged that he and Mr. Erpenbeck have begun discussing the possibility of pleading guilty to an unspecified crime. If a deal is struck, it would spare the Crestview Hills builder further notoriety from a long, highly publicized criminal trial — and could shorten any prison time he might face.

Click here for all Enquirer reports on Erpenbeck Co.
If you have any additional information on the business dealings of the Erpenbeck Co. or Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky - or on the involvement of any parties not yet identified in our coverage - please email Enquirer business reporter James McNair at or Kentucky Enquirer reporter Patrick Crowley at
        “It's going to be resolved cooperatively,” Mr. Whitaker said. “Presumably, there'll be a plea to something down the road.

        “I don't know when it'll happen,” he added. “It'll be a negotiated plea.”

        The FBI, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other federal agencies have been conducting a bank fraud investigation of the Erpenbeck Co. and two former Northern Kentucky bankers, John Finnan and Marc Menne, since March. The collapse of the home-building company cost home buyers, banks, subcontractors and other creditors more than $107 million and has placed financial and regulatory strain on Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky.

        Spokesmen for the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office were unavailable Thursday to comment on Mr. Whitaker's remarks. The government issued a subpoena for Erpenbeck Co. records in June, and FBI agents have been conducting interviews of former employees of Erpenbeck Co. and Peoples Bank, as well as Erpenbeck family members.

        “As they start tightening the knot, you'll usually see some individuals decide to enter guilty pleas,” said Donald Bucklin, a former federal prosecutor now practicing white-collar defense in Washington, D.C.


Twitty awaits apology from city
All things considered, many skip long trips
City schools have many top jobs to fill
Advocates: UC study validates drug court
- Lawyer: Erpenbeck may plead guilty
Aviation heritage area proposed by lawmakers
'Big Bearcat Gig' to raise money for UC scholarships
Boy's hat helps identify suspect
Federal funds in works for city
Fight at cinema prompts security
Florist settles on beige
Former society editor, 87, dies
Graeter's ice cream featured in story
Isley Brothers plan to perform
Obituary: Harvey B. Fuller, 84, supported arts
Tristate A.M. Report
West Nile Health department monitors wildlife
HOWARD: Some Good News
British Festival puts accent on fun
Butler sales-tax increase losing steam
Commissioners take on Cinergy for Edgewood schools
Concern over Shayler Creek draws a crowd
House panel votes to expel Traficant
Uranium waste may pay off for Tristate
Kentucky News Briefs
No-camping in parks brings protests
Patton: Growth panel should seek funding
Senate candidate opens Kentucky headquarters
Sludge spill victims stay put, but mostly out of necessity
Talks on Ky. budget proposed
Utility costs less than sanitation