BATON ROUGE: Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said LDAF enforcement agents arrested a Utah logger on charges of timber theft by fraud.
Julian Scott Smith, 44, of Heber City, Utah was arrest and booked into the Union Parish Detention Center on March 20. Smith is charged with theft by fraud in the amount of $123,531.39. Bond was set at $25,000.
LDAF enforcement agents said while operating as Buckwater Timber Co. in Monticello, Ark. Smith was hired to log a 400-acre tract of timber in Union Parish over a three-year period. During this time, Smith reportedly withheld payments for 67 loads of timber and altered total tonnage from tickets to reflect a lower weight on documents provided to landowners. The investigation reportedly revealed that Smith used the illegally obtained timber proceeds for his own personal finances.
“Before contracting with someone to cut timber, do your homework,” Strain said. “Always get references, ask friends or neighbors and call our office to be sure you are dealing with a trustworthy individual or company.”
Strain advises anyone who suspects timber theft to contact the Office of Forestry at 225-925-4500.