'19 animals were seized:' RCMP lay charges in string of fraudulent cattle purchases


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There’s been some movement in the case of cheque-fraud cattle rustling that stretched from Thorsby in Alberta to Saskatchewan, say Mounties.

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A pair from Two Hills are now facing a load of charges after the RCMP Livestock Investigation Unit got a tip about a Tofield area fraudulent cattle purchase back on Aug. 19.

Investigators say cattle were bought with a fake cheque before being moved with no brand inspection out of province.

Live Stock Services of Saskatchewan later joined the investigation, identifying a location where the stolen cattle were thought to be grazing. RCMP then executed a search warrant in Spiritwood, Sask.

Two pure bred Black Angus bulls were seized along with evidence of additional stolen cattle.

Two weeks later, another search warrant was executed before more cattle were seized, part of the recovery of fraudulent purchases made in Thorsby and Lloydminster, Sask.

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“A total of 19 animals were seized and identified through registered livestock brands and/or registered pure bred tattoos,” said Mounties in a Sept. 24 news release.

Const. Lyle Korver with the RCMP Livestock Investigation Unit said fraudulent cattle crimes are not common, but they do happen.

Korver said he and his partner, Corporal Lindsey Anderson, both come from agricultural and livestock backgrounds which sets them a part in cases like this one.

“When these files come up, having livestock industry knowledge and background greatly assists in bringing a special set of skills and abilities to investigations that detachment members would not necessarily possess,” Korver told Postmedia.

Investigators encourage livestock owners to brand their cattle and horses because it is the primary means of ownership identification and can be relied upon for successful prosecution.

Shane Hoff and Shanon Hoff are charged with fraud over $5,000. They are set to appear in Vegreville Provincial Court on Oct. 18.

Anyone with information about similar fraudulent acts are asked to call the Alberta RCMP Livestock Investigation Unit at 403-598-6991, or your local police. Those wanting to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.P3Tips.com.