CASS, WOOD COUNTIES, Texas (KLTV) - A Louisiana man has been arrested on a fourth felony cattle theft charge.
Justin Glen Thompson was arrested Wednesday at the Wood County Courthouse while he was there for a bond appointment dealing with the other three felony cattle theft charges he was already accused of.
We spoke with two Special Rangers with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association who say this was not as simple as cutting a lock on a gate and stealing cattle.
Rangers Bo Fox and Larry Hand have been investigating Justin Thompson for five months, compiling a lot of detailed paperwork. They say Thompson had an in-depth understanding of the cattle business since he’s a cattleman himself.
Hand says he had received a complaint from a cattleman about payments.
“The Wood County victim begins to have some shortages on the invoices; the checks he’s received for cattle sent,” Hand said.
And investigators say Thompson was allegedly doctoring invoices given to his employers, Strain Feeders.
“He was falsely giving information and documents to his own employer and he was falsifying; altering some documents and payments from the Texas Producers,” Hand said.
Hand says those actions gave Thompson a much bigger commission check than he was supposed to have.
“It’s truly a financial crimes investigation,” Hand explained.
And, according to Fox, there was another victim in Cass County.
“The arrangement was that Justin was working for Strain Feeder, a feeder company in southeastern Louisiana. The Cass County producer was led to believe that Justin Thompson was employed by them, and actually working as an agent for them for this transaction, and that Strain Feeders was buying,” Fox explained.
Fox says Thompson gave the victim a personal check and Thompson asked the victim to wait to cash it.
“Well, actually the rancher wound up waiting about a month and a half to cash the check. When he cashed it, it wasn’t any good,” Fox said.
And of course, the Rangers say, the cattle were long gone. Most were sold by Strain Feeders, who didn’t know they were stolen.
The Rangers also say that Thompson did more damage.
“Turned in a couple of fraudulent, made up invoices, to Strain Feeders, several invoices, to show that Strain Feeders had sold cattle to my Cass County ranch, when in fact discovered that that did not happen,” Fox stated.
According to investigators, both of the ranchers lost cattle and money, as did the company. Strain Feeders temporarily ceased operations last December to investigate the loss.
Hand says the ranchers are out more than $140,000.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry says they had arrested Justin Thompson and his parents Ricky and Wanda Thompson on September 3 in connection with stealing more than $1 million in livestock from four Louisiana livestock sales barns.
Justin Thompson was arrested when he was out on bond on the Louisiana charge. He and his parents have criminal charges in four Louisiana Parishes.