A Tahlequah man pleaded guilty Nov. 13 to charges of embezzlement after selling 18 head of cattle that were placed in his care by a local rancher. Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger John Cummings led the investigation that resulted in the charges and subsequent plea.
According to Cummings, the suspect, Walter F. “Andy” Andrews, 44, of Tahlequah, was caring for the victim’s cattle from February 2015 to May 2015 and was grazing the cattle on land he leased in Cherokee County, near Woodall. After attempts by the owner and bank representatives to view and count the cattle were consistently delayed or impeded, the owner eventually contacted TSCRA Special Rangers for assistance.
Cummings immediately initiated an investigation, which revealed that Andrews had moved the cattle from his pasture without the owner’s consent. It was determined that he had sold the cattle in his own name and kept the proceeds for his personal use. Pursuant to the investigation, felony charges were filed, and Andrews was arrested in July 2016. On Nov. 13, 2017, in the Cherokee County District Court, Andrews entered a guilty plea to the charge of embezzlement. Andrews was given a 10-year suspended sentence with two years of supervised probation and a $2,000 fine. He was also ordered to pay $28,000 in restitution to the victim.
“This case serves as a reminder for ranchers to check and accurately count their cattle on a regular basis, especially if they are being cared for and grazed on someone else’s property,” said Cummings.
TSCRA Special Ranger Bart Perrier and local authorities aided in the investigation. TSCRA would like to especially thank the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department and Undersheriff Jason Chennault for their assistance throughout the investigation.