Timber harvester pleads guilty

LANSING, Mich. — A Stephenson man charged in connection to stealing more than $100,000 of timber from the state has pleaded guilty, said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Raymond Vetort — owner of R&J Logging, an independent logging company — was bound over for trial in July. Although Vetort’s business had a contract to enter and log on state land, he allegedly marked and took timber that was not allowed by the contract.

Thursday before Judge Christopher Ninomiya in Menominee County Circuit Court, Vetort pleaded guilty to trespassing or damages to state land — $20,000 or more, a 10-year felony and/or $15,000 fine. He will pay $50,000 of the restitution to the state by his sentencing date and not be able to bid on DNR logging contracts as part of the plea agreement.

“Limited logging contracts strike an important balance between resource preservation and economic development,” Nessel said. “The deliberate use of these contracts to obtain access to steal state timber is a serious criminal offense and will not be tolerated.”

Sentencing will be 9:30 a.m. Central time Dec. 10.

As part of the plea agreement, felony charges of larceny and malicious destruction of property of $20,000 or more were dropped.


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