Beef Thief: Exeter man arrested in $1.5 million cattle fraud
TULARE COUNTY, Calif. - An Exeter man has been arrested for allegedly stealing over $1.5 million dollars in cattle across three states.
Tulare County Sheriff's Department has arrested 36-year-old Justin Tyler Greer while fleeing in Texas. He has been charged with grand theft, investment fraud, and embezzlement.
Investigators said Greer is well known in the county and has a long history in the ranching and cattle industry.
A majority of the alleged victims are friends or those he's worked with for many years.
"He bought and sold a large number of cattle on a regular basis as a broker, and managed large number of herds for various people throughout Tulare County," said Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.
Greer is now facing 16 felony complaints -- 13 counts of grant theft, and 3 separate counts of investment fraud.
Sheriff Boudreaux calls this a 21st Century cattle rustling case.
"The trust in this case was violated in the Western way of life where trust was broken in the 'cowboy handshake,'" he said.
Investigators said over the past two years Greer stole over 900 cattle worth $1.5 million dollars from seven different victims across Wyoming, Colorado, and California affecting 13 different ranches in Tulare County alone -- a sophisticated operation.
"This investigation consumed thousands of hours and ten different banks and thousands of thousands of financial documents," said Boudreaux.
Agricultural Crimes Sergeant Bobby Rader said this case wasn't just complex, it was devious.
"He was stealing these things right out in the open but no one in this industry looks for that kind of thing because the trust level is so high," he said.
This is still an on-going investigation and I'm told there are possibly still thousands of cattle left to be found and possibly more suspects involved in this case.
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