George Thacker, the former Rhea County executive, died in federal prison, according to family members, according Rhea County officials.
“That is what has been relayed to me,” his attorney, Lee Davis, said. “I’m looking for confirmation.” According to family relatives, the longstanding leader of the Rhea County government was discovered dead by jail guards on Monday morning.
He had received a 33-month federal prison sentence for misusing federal COVID small company Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) financing.
Judge Charles Atchley also ordered Thacker to return the government $665,000 and pay a $15,000 fine. “I’m really sorry,” Thacker said at his sentence. I had every intention of repaying it.”
Attorney Davis had requested home confinement for Thacker, claiming that he was needed to assist run Spring City’s lone motel, which employs 14 people. He also mentioned his “unsophistication” and his hard background in various foster homes.
His ex-wife of 38 years was in the courtroom to support Thacker during his sentencing, as was an official from Community Bank in Rhea County, which has offered to loan him $500,000 to pay off his debts.
He resigned as Rhea County executive in April, the same month he submitted a guilty plea. He was 59 years old at the time of his plea.
Jim Vincent, a former Hamilton County, and Rhea County county commissioner and state representative, is the current Rhea County county executive. He was the longest-serving county executive in Rhea County, having been elected in 2010.