Police bust men they say rigged fishing tournaments - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Police bust men they say rigged fishing tournaments

Police bust men they say rigged fishing tournaments
By: Ryan Tate

Two Kentucky fisherman thought they had a good scam going.  They eventually got caught.

Two Kentucky grand juries passed down 10 felony indictments and one misdemeanor indictment of "Theft by Deception," for allegedly cheating eleven fishing tournaments.  The fishing buddies won thousands of dollars and won a $30,000 fishing boat.

According to investigators, the pair would catch fish before the tournament, put them in cages, then collect the fish during the tournament and present them to officials. That is when they would collect their prizes.  Back in April, someone saw one of the cages and alerted authorities.

"I know local fisherman are very upset," Kerry Clark said. Clark owns Jet-A-Marina in Calvert City, and organizes a local fishing tournament.  Clark says Nesmith and Thomas won $2,500 in 2004 and $1,500 in 2006.

"You're trying to play on an even field and you get these two guys cheating, it discourages you from fishing. You don't want to go out and fish against people like that," Clark said.

Daniel Richardson works for the Lyon County Conservation Office. He says he has not seen anything like this in the five years he has been on the job.  His office gives speeches and is on site for many of the fishing tournaments in the area.

"We'll make sure we watch a little closer if we see something tied off on the beach," Richardson said.

Clark says this arrests changes the way he will organize the tournament in 2007.

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