Jul. 2—A Cooke County rancher experienced loss last year after an employee sold more than $6,000 worth of cattle in his girlfriend's name and pocketed the proceeds, officials said.
Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Troy McKinney said James Paul Woodard, a 55-year-old from Gainesville, was indicted by a Cooke County grand jury on June 23, according to a news release issued by the association Wednesday, June 30.
Woodard faces second-degree felony charges due to the victim's advanced age. The grand jury determined Woodard's girlfriend did not have knowledge of the illegal sales, the release states.
In October, the reported victim reached out to the Overbrook Stockyards in Overbrook, Okla, because he had reason to believe some of his cattle had been sold without permission. The auction market's secretary contacted McKinney, whose investigation proved Woodard had not only sold cattle there, but also at the Decatur Livestock Auction in Decatur.
Officials said Woodard always put the cattle in his girlfriend's name to lower suspicion. While the couple owns four cows, it was not enough to produce the number of calves Woodard sold.
McKinney said this case is a good reminder to thoroughly vet out potential employees and to continue to monitor both them and your cattle.
"Theft is devastating for a rancher, who is also battling high input costs, weather and market volatility," McKinney was quoted as saying in the release. "But it's always a little worse when it's someone you trusted."