A man in Oklahoma surrendered to police on six counts of embezzlement following an investigation by a Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) special ranger.
Johnny Ray Simmons, 52, of Stilwell, Oklahoma, surrendered to Harper County authorities on Sept. 12 and was booked in the Harper County Jail.
An investigation TSCRA Special Ranger Brett Wellden began in 2017 after he was contacted by a victim who claims that Simmons was a partner with them on pasture cattle grazing tribal lease lands in Northeastern Oklahoma. After the lease expired, the cattle were moved from the pasture by the victim it is alleged that 103 head were missing.
An investigation found that over several years Simmons failed to pay the victim for calf crops, as required by the agreement.
According to court records Simmons had already been convicted on two counts of embezzlement from Adair County in March 2018. The case in Adair County had a number of similarities to the case Wellden was investigating.
The warrant for Simmons’ arrest was issued on Aug. 29. Since his surrender on Sept. 12, Simmons has been released on a $150,000 bond. Simmons faces six counts of felony embezzlement, which each carry a potential sentence of 10 years in prison, fines of up to $10,000 and restitution to the victim.
Cattle producers should be vigilant advises Wellden and need to keep good documentation to prevent similar crimes.
“Written agreements, thorough record keeping and vigilance provide essential evidence to ensure justice will prevail,” Wellden says. “It is extremely important that producers be proactive in instituting these protections, especially when entering into partnerships with others.”
TSCRA and Wellden thanked everyone involved in the case, especially the Harper County Sheriff’s Office and Harper County District Attorney’s Office for their prosecution of the case.