In Montana Cattle Rustling is Apparently Still a Thing
It wasn't exactly like a bygone era, where a gang of bandits were hiding out on horseback in a dusty canyon, waiting to make their move.
Nonetheless, it was a high-stakes theft. And it took some time for authorities to get their man. But the outlaw has been apprehended, sentenced and hit with a pretty stiff moo-lah penalty.
Associated Press tells us that a Montana man who was charged in a cattle rustling scheme has been sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and selling cattle that were collateral for loans. The state's U.S. Attorney's Office says Joshua James Chappa of Bozeman was also ordered to pay nearly $451,000 in restitution.
I have the same questions you do: How much of that sentence will he actually serve and realistically, how much of that $451,000 in restitution are the victims going to see?
Mr. Chappa was a ranch manager at the Hayes Ranch in Wilsall from 2008 to 2017, where he had access to cattle, embryos and other items. He formed his own cattle business in 2015, Cold Smoke Cattle. Of course it would have been a wee bit more legitimate if he actually had owned the cattle he was selling. Instead, when the owners were out of the country, Chappa began dealing in cattle, including stealing cattle from the Hayes Ranch and selling them as if they were his own. He also sold cattle that were collateral for two loans without repaying the loans.
So, at least for now, get along to jail, little dogie.
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