A California man has been arrested after allegedly defrauding more than a million dollars from prospective cattle buyers in a scheme that spanned four states.
Justin Tyler Greer, 36, was arrested Dec. 28 in Tarzan, Texas, after being suspected of investment fraud, embezzlement and cattle theft.
There are seven victims who are out $1.5 million in losses. The investigation began in June 2017 when the victims claimed to be coming up hundreds of head short. Cattle owned by investors were illegally sold and moved to Colorado and Wyoming.
“This is 21st Century cattle rustling and embezzlement at the highest level,” says Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.
Greer was extradited back to Tulare County, California, on Dec. 31 where he is from and a press conference was held by local authorities on Jan. 4.
Tulare County Sherriff’s Agricultural Crimes Unit tracked down Greer with the aid of Texas Rangers and U.S. Marshals. Local authorities in Texas also helped with the arrest, along with assistance from the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Unit.
“Given the complexity of this case, I am proud of the amount of progress they made to get this case to this point,” Sheriff Boudreaux says. “And I very much appreciate the assistance of other law enforcement agencies throughout the Western United States.”
In addition to working as a cattle broker, Greer managed cattle owned by ranchers in California, Wyoming and Colorado. Authorities describe the cattle as being backgrounded and then ran as stockers before being sold when they reached a marketable weight. Greer allegedly failed to meet finical obligations in April and May, raising flags for his customers.
Audits were issued by two victims to determine if cattle were stolen as they were coming up hundreds of head short.
“When people began saying, ‘where are our cattle and they couldn’t produce the cattle where is our money from the bills or profits we should have made,’ nothing could be provided so that’s when investigators got involved,” Sheriff Boudreaux says.
Authorities have recovered 900 cattle in Wyoming, but it is believed that thousands more are unaccounted for.
The cattle in Wyoming were on pasture illegally, says Sheriff Boudreaux. They were found with the help of California Bureau of Livestock Identification Brand Unit and criminal investigators with the State of Wyoming Livestock Board.
The U.S. Forest Service is investigating the case of the cattle in Wyoming in a…