A Carthage man has been charged after Texas A&M Forest Service law enforcement investigators said he harvested timber without paying the landowner.

Jacob Twomey was arrested Monday and charged with timber purchase as trustee with intent to defraud an amount greater than $500, but less than $20,000 — a state jail felony.

The Forest Service said a landowner agreed to allow Twomey to harvest timber for a fixed rate on July 31, 2020. Twomey paid for half the harvesting period and then stopped making payments even though he continued to harvest the timber, the Forest Service said.

“The plaintiff was partially paid for his timber,” said Mike Kuhnert, an investigator for the Texas A&M Forest Service Law Enforcement Department. “But after payments stopped, he continued to cut. By the end of the harvest, the money had still not been received.”

Kuhnert said Twomey was given multiple chances to compensate the landowner in full, but a case was filed to a grand jury when no resolution was reached. Under Texas law, money collected from timber is trust money, and if a trustee fails to pay all beneficiaries within 45 days of the timber being sold, it constitutes fraud.

“Timber Theft is a growing crime in Panola County, and my office will prosecute these crimes as they occur,” Districty Danny Buck Davidson said. “I appreciate the Texas A&M Forest Service Law Enforcement Department in assisting our landowners with protecting their timber assets.”

To report suspected timber theft activities, call the timber theft hotline at 1-800-364-3470.

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