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DeSoto Parish man to serve 18 months for timber theft

September 22, 2009

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said a DeSoto Parish logger will begin serving an 18-month jail term after he was caught violating the probationary terms of a previous conviction for selling stolen timber.
James Cooper “J.C.” Hall, 71, of 318 Cotton Hall Lane, Converse, was ordered to spend 18 months in federal prison beginning October 19 by United States District Judge Tom Stagg in Shreveport after a September probation revocation hearing.
Hall, who pled guilty in 2006 to interstate transportation of stolen timber in federal court in East Texas, was involved in a conspiracy to forge timber deeds from nearly a dozen landowners in East Texas and Louisiana. Hall was ordered to pay $208,000 in restitution and given five years supervised probation in the 2006 case when Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry investigators arrested him for stealing timber from a Bienville Parish landowner in June 2009.
Jim Baldwin, LDAF Forestry Enforcement Manager, said Hall was accused of cutting four acres of a Ringgold resident’s land after being told not to cut the timber.
“Mr. Hall knocked down a well maintained fence, cut the timber after being told not to and then claimed it was an accident,” Baldwin said. “In addition, our agents are currently investigating Mr. Hall on another timber theft in Red River Parish.”
Prior to Hall’s June 2009 arrest, LDAF investigators had arrested Hall in 2007 on timber theft charges in DeSoto Parish.  
During the probation revocation meeting, U.S. Probation Officer Jennifer DeMoss testified that Hall had lied on his monthly reporting form when he said that he had no contact with law enforcement officers even though he had been arrested.
DeMoss also said Hall had only paid $10,000 in restitution during the past three years.
“The LDAF will continue to do everything in its power to investigate all timber theft thoroughly and pursue each case completely,” Strain said.
Strain urged all Louisiana residents to call the LDAF’s Forestry Enforcement office to report any suspicions of timber theft to Baton Rouge headquarters at 225-925-4500.