Two residents of Two Hills, Alta. have been charged by RCMP after a string of fraudulent cattle purchases spanning two provinces.
The Alberta RCMP Livestock Investigation Unit first caught wind of the situation on Aug. 19, 2021 when they received a report of an alleged fraudulent cattle sale in Tofield, Alta.
Investigators with the unit learned that suspects had allegedly bought the cattle with a fraudulent cheque and transported the animals out of province without a brand inspection.
RCMP reached out to Livestock Services of Saskatchewan to assist in locating where the cattle were believed to be grazing.
According to a release on Monday from RCMP, the livestock unit executed a search warrant on Sept. 2 with help from Livestock Services of Saskatchewan in Spiritwood, Sask. There, they seized two pure bred Black Angus bulls and found evidence of additional victims.
Another search warrant was conducted on Sept. 16 where Alberta RCMP say they recovered cattle from alleged fraud committed by the same suspects in both Thorsby, Alta. and Lloydminster, Sask.
“A total of 19 animals were seized and identified through registered livestock brands and/or registered pure bred tattoos,” read a statement from Alberta RCMP.
“Alberta RCMP Livestock Investigation Unit investigators encourage all livestock owners to brand their cattle and horses as this is the primary means of ownership identification, and in most cases, relied upon for successful prosecution.”
The investigation led police to Shane and Shanon Hoff who were both charged with fraud over $5,000.
They are scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 18 in Vegreville, Alta.
Police say the Shanon and Shane Hoff are believed to have been involved in similar business transactions. RCMP are asking anyone with information regarding similar incidents to contact the Alberta RCMP Livestock Investigations Unit at 403-598-6991, your local police detachment or Crime Stoppers.