The Woodward News

March 18, 2014

Pair arrested in cattle scheme

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — A pair who allegedly concocted a scheme to purchase cattle at numerous livestock sales facilities and then quickly attempt to sell the cattle before the original checks could clear their bank, turned themselves into Custer County authorities last Friday.

Barry Lynn Heath, 44 and Neva M. Heath, 50 of Custer County were charged by the Oklahoma Attorney general with 11 felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses and one count of "engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses - also a felony, according to Aaron Cooper, spokesman for the Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General,

Each of the 11 counts of obtaining property on false pretenses carries a possible fine of $5,000 and up to 10 years in prison. They also face a possible fine of $25,000 or up to two years in prison for the one count of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses, according to the charges.

The couple allegedly wrote a total of just under $30,000 in bogus checks beginning in October of 2013 through January of 2014 and passed them at livestock markets throughout the state in the alleged purchase of cattle, according to the charges.

The investigation involved the Attorney General’s Multicounty Grand Jury Unit and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

According to Cooper, Neva Heath remained still in custody as of Monday afternoon while Barry Lynn Heath had bonded out.

"Neva bonded, but she has a hold," Cooper said. "So she's still in custody."

Barry Heath's arraignment is set for Wednesday, Cooper said. Neva Heath's arraignment took place Monday afternoon.

Attempts to find a phone number to allow comment by either Barry or Neva Heath were unsuccessful.

The pair allegedly traveled about the state to various livestock auctions, purchased cattle using a check "knowing that they had insufficient funds in said bank and that the check was worthless, false, bogus and of no value", according to the text contained in the charges.

Livestock facilities named as allegedly defrauded by the pair include Clinton Livestock Auction of Custer County, Fairview Sale Barn of Major County, Northwest Stockyards, LLC., of Garfield County, Cross Livestock Auction of McIntosh  County, Mid America Stockyards, Inc., of Creek County, Covington Sale Barn of Oklahoma County, Stilwell Livestock Auction of Adair County, Geary Livestock Auction of Blaine County, Okmulgee Livestock Auction in Okmulgee County, Jones Livestock Auction of Oklahoma County, Perkins Livestock Auction in Payne County and Elk City Livestock Auction in Beckham County.

Clinton Livestock Market owner and manager, Blake Berry was pretty circumspect about the whole thing.

"Well, every little bit matters.This added up to about $2,700 for me, but I've had much worse," he said. "I think they just had a little scheme going and it caught up with them."