KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Former Knox County Trustee Mike Lowe pleaded guilty Thursday to felony theft in what’s become known as the “ghost employee” case.
As part of the plea deal, Lowe will serve one year in prison and 10 years probation. He must also pay $200,000 in restitution.
Lowe and four other former trustee’s office employees are charged with felony theft.
Lowe was accused of paying so-called ghost employees Delbert Morgan and Ray Mubarak, and funneling money through his office to a real estate services business owned by Mubarak.
Lowe also pleaded guilty to a scheme to pay Mubarak inflated prices for title opinions that were inadequate and in some cases did not even exist.
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Prior to the hearing, Lowe said he wanted to “be a man” and take responsibility for his actions.
“[It was] one mistake on my part and I take full responsibility for that. It should have never of happened and for that I am extremely sorry,” Lowe said.
Lowe will begin serving his jail time on April 11, though he is not expected to serve the full year.
Morgan was convicted and sentenced in February to eight years, 30 days of which would be spent in prison and the rest on probation.