Wesley T. Butler, developer of the controversial Captain's Cove vacation home project on Virginia's Eastern Shore, pleaded guilty yesterday to giving false information to government investigators probing Butler's involvement in land sales operation.
Butler, 46, had been indicted last March on four counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of transportation of stolen corporation funds in interstate and foreign commerce.
The indictment charged that Butler, after being removed from the presidency of the development company, continued to sell lots at Captain's Cove. The indictment also said that Butler directed the development's lot owners to send him more than $300,000 in mortgage payments that actually were meant for the development company.
All charges, except the one to which Butler pleaded guilty, were dropped by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alexandria.
Butler admitted yesterday that he falsely told government investigators last December that he had been given authority to act as president of the development company. First Charter Land Corp. of Falls Church, on Sept. 13, 1976 when he knew he had no such authority.
Butler told investigators that another First Charter officer, former Falls Church Judge Vail W. Pischke, said Butler could act as president. Actually Pischke told investigators he had revoked Butler's authority on Sept. 9, 1976, according to U.S. attorney William B. Cummings.
Butler, who has been at the Federal Correctional Institution in Springfield, Mo., pending yesterday's hearing will be sentenced June 3, according to Butler's attorney, Roger E. Zuckerman.
He could be sentemced to a maximum of five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Captain's Cove is a 1,865-acre project in Chincoteague, Va. Many of the project's 4,500 lot owners are from the Washington area and planned to build summer vacation or retirement homes at the development.
B. Calvin Burns, another co-owner of Captain's Cove, Charter each were indicted in 1970 on 29 charges of illegal dredging of wetlands to create canal-front homelands at Captain's Cove.Two years later, Burns pleaded guilty to one count and the company four. All the other charges were dismissed.
Last February the Army Corps of Engineers said that for environmental reasons First Charter could not complete existing canals, construct additional canals or dredge access channels to existing or proposed canals.
The engineers also said the company and lot owners cannot fill in wetlands on the project without the corps' permission, meaning that it is questionable whether about 600 of the lot owners will be able to build homes on their property.