By Rachael Van Horn, CNHI News Service
WOODWARD, Okla. —
A pair who allegedly concocted a scheme to buy cattle at livestock sales facilities and then sell the cattle before the original checks could clear the bank turned themselves into Custer County authorities last week.
Barry Lynn Heath, 44, and Neva M. Heath, 50, of Custer County, were charged by the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office with 11 felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses and one count of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses, also a felony, according to Aaron Cooper, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.
Each of the 11 counts of obtaining property on false pretenses carries a possible fine of $5,000 and up to 10 years in prison. They also face a possible fine of $25,000 or up to two years in prison for the count of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses, according to the charges.
The couple allegedly wrote a total of just under $30,000 in bogus checks from October 2013 through January 2014 and passed them at livestock markets throughout the state in the alleged purchase of cattle, according to the charges.
The investigation involved the Attorney General’s Multicounty Grand Jury Unit and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.
Barry Heath’s arraignment is set for today, Cooper said. Neva Heath’s arraignment took place Monday afternoon.
Attempts to find a phone number to allow comment by either Barry or Neva Heath were unsuccessful.
The pair allegedly traveled about the state to livestock auctions, purchased cattle using checks “knowing that they had insufficient funds in said bank and that the check was worthless, false, bogus and of no value,” according to the text contained in the charges.
Livestock facilities named as allegedly defrauded by the pair include Clinton Livestock Auction, of Custer County; Fairview Sale Barn, of Major County; Northwest Stockyards, of Garfield County; Cross Livestock Auction, of McIntosh County; Mid America Stockyards, of Creek County; Covington Sale Barn, of Garfield County; Stilwell Livestock Auction, of Adair County; Geary Livestock Auction, of Blaine County; Okmulgee Livestock Auction, of Okmulgee County; Jones Livestock Auction, of Oklahoma County; Perkins Livestock Auction, of Payne County; and Elk City Livestock Auction, of Beckham County.
Clinton Livestock Market owner and manager Blake Berry was pretty circumspect about the whole thing.
“Well, every little bit matters. This added up to about $2,700 for me, but I’ve had much worse,” he said. “I think they just had a little scheme going and it caught up with them.”
Van Horn writes for the Woodward News.