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Press Release

Jesse Clyde Lee Sentenced To Serve Seventy-Eight Months In Prison For Arson Of A Building

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Jesse Clyde Lee, 68, of Knoxville, Tenn., was sentenced on June 4, 2015, to serve 78 months in prison by the Honorable Thomas Varlan, Chief U.S. District Court Judge.  Lee pleaded guilty in November 2014 to an information charging him with arson of a building.

In addition to his prison sentence, Lee was ordered to pay $4,771,829.45 in restitution.  Upon his release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for three             years.

Lee was the owner of Sports Belle, Inc., an athletic apparel manufacturer in Knoxville, Tenn.  According to the plea agreement on file with the U.S. District Court, Lee paid Joseph Beason, 38, of Heiskell, Tenn., $10,000 to set the building which housed Sports Belle on fire so that Lee could collect insurance proceeds. Beason enlisted the assistance of Paul Delude, 42, of Knoxville, Tenn., and Chase Lewis, 30, of Powell, Tenn., to assist in burning the building and the $10,000 would be split three ways.  Beason, Delude and Lewis, along with a fourth individual, Emma McMillan, 73, of Powell, Tenn., were all charged in this case and are currently awaiting sentencing.

Agencies involved in the investigation of this case include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Knox County Sheriff’s Department; City of Knoxville Fire Department, Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit; and, Knox County Fire Investigation Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kolman represented the United States.


Updated February 4, 2016