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Man arrested for alleged hay scam
A Mineola man was arrested Dec. 16 by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Larry Hand on two counts of hay theft after he allegedly conducted an online hay scam. According to a Dec. 19 Cattle Raisers press release, Special Rangers Hand, Max Hartmann, and Doug Hutchison investigated the case.
According to Hand, Steven Clues, 39, began advertising in late summer on Internet hay sites. He collected funds by wire transfers on 98 round bales of hay from two victims worth an estimated $10,000 but failed to deliver the hay. The victims were from Fayette and Comal counties.
Hand says that a grand jury will review the case for possible additional charges.
“These ranchers began ordering hay in September 2011 at the height of the drought and wildfire season,” Hand said. “We’ve seen an increase in this form of hay fraud and expect the situation to get worse as we head into winter and hay supplies dwindle even lower.”
Hand advises ranchers to be extremely cautious when using hay brokers. Get a contract, pay upon delivery when possible, or agree to one of many forms of escrow accounts to minimize your risk.
Clues was released from the Wood County jail Dec. 17 on a $10,000 bond.
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