Rancher sentenced for defrauding BLM

A cattle rancher who admitted to defrauding the Bureau of Land Administration (BLM) of charges in a grazing scheme has been sentenced to 4 years of probation, fined $35,000 and ordered to pay $143,714 restitution, U.S. Legal professional for the District of Montana Jesse Laslovich introduced.

The federal government alleged in court docket paperwork that between 2017 and 2020, Gene John Klamert, 71, of Billings, Montana, held a BLM grazing allow that allowed him to graze his cattle on public land close to Winnett. The allow approved Klamert to graze cattle he owned for a month-to-month base fee. It additionally approved him to graze different folks’s cattle, however he was required to report them and pay a surcharge for each head of cattle he grazed that he didn’t personally personal.

BLM first found Klamert underreporting cattle in 2017. When confronted, Klamert admitted grazing 100 cattle that didn’t belong to him and that he didn’t report. Klamert really grazed no less than 620 cattle that he did not report and thereby, averted paying the required surcharge. Earlier than the subsequent grazing season, BLM reminded Klamert that he should report different folks’s cattle he supposed to graze and pay a surcharge for every. Klamert, nonetheless, ignored these warnings and continued misreporting cattle for the subsequent three seasons.

Additional, to cover the cattle and keep away from the surcharge, Klamert submitted to the BLM faux payments of sale purporting to have bought 1,515 head of cattle between 2018 and 2020 that he in truth didn’t personal and by no means bought. The fraudulent payments of sale enabled Klamert to keep away from paying $65,612 in surcharge charges. Klamert additionally defrauded the BLM by persevering with to graze different folks’s cattle that he merely by no means reported.

In complete, Klamert grazed greater than 2,000 cattle that he selected to not report, avoiding a further $78,884 in surcharges to the BLM. Klamert defrauded BLM of a complete of $144,497. He paid again $782 after his reprimand in 2017, bringing the fraud loss to $143,714.