A former metro home builder has now pleaded guilty in federal court, after being accused in an interstate theft ring earlier this year. Dennis Lee's attorney Scott Adams originally said he looked forward to clearing his client’s name, but now Lee faces up to 20 years in prison.
Lee pleaded guilty to two of the five charges listed in the original indictment, which are possession of stolen property and being a felon in possession of a firearm. On Friday, a newer defendant in the case also entered a guilty plea.
Dennis Lee and Kenneth Smith join fellow defendants Amanda Czermak, Auston Slater, Dakota Epperly and Dakotah Henderson in pleading guilty to their involvement in the 2016 theft ring. Lee admitted to being in possession of stolen property that crossed state lines, after the investigation revealed he stored more than $100,000 of recreational and occupational vehicles at his place of business.
“He’s dealing with it,” Adams says. “He’s accepting the responsibility. He just wants to get on with his life.”
Lee's felony stems from a drug possession conviction when he was younger, which Adams says is now coming back to haunt him. “I think it’s just a good reminder for everyone, if you pled to a felony, no matter how young you were, if you haven’t received a pardon or something, you can’t have guns,” says Adams.
Each of the charges against Lee carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Lee also has to turn over 16 guns found during the investigation.
Smith, who was just charged on Thursday, admitted to concealing knowledge of the theft ring. He faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The US Attorney plans to drop other charges against Lee and Smith during the sentencing phase of this trial, which is expected early next year.