Arrest In Texas Over 8,000 Cattle In Fraud Scheme
Howard Lee Hinkle
A Wichita Falls, Tex., man has been arrested on theft charges in a case that encompasses more than 10 counties in Texas and Oklahoma, 8,000 head of cattle and outstanding loans of more than $5.8 million.
Howard Lee Hinkle, 67, was arrested without incident June 27, 2018, and booked into the Wichita County Jail. He was subsequently released on bond pending trial. He allegedly defaulted on several loans at the First United Bank in Sanger, Tex., with past due balances totaling more than $5.8 million. Hinkle’s arrest is the result of an investigation led by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger John Bradshaw and Troy McKinney.
The investigation began in March 2017, when bank officials contacted Bradshaw about the past due loans. When bank representatives acted on a court order to gather the approximately 8,000 yearling cattle put up as collateral they were unable to locate any of the animals.
Hinkle had purportedly told the bank the cattle were located on properties scattered across 10 counties in both Texas and Oklahoma. Bradshaw enlisted the assistance of fellow Special Rangers to help identify and interview numerous witnesses and collect vital evidence across the two states. As the investigation continued the Rangers identified the various properties and cattle listed in the loans, but found that none were legitimately owned by Hinkle. It is suspected that Hinkle deceived the bank by showing them fraudulent documentation and cattle that belonged to other individuals.
Bradshaw presented the evidence to a Denton County grand jury on June 14, 2018, and an indictment was handed down the following week for first-degree felony charges of theft of more than $200,000. If convicted Hinkle could face up to life in prison along with possible fines and restitution.
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