April 28, 2021 – Texas A&M Forest Service law enforcement investigators arrested Jacob Twomey of Panola County on Monday, April 26, on a grand jury indictment. Twomey was 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 plaintiff of this case is a landowner who came into an agreement with Twomey on July 31, 2020, to harvest timber for a fixed rate per ton. While payments were made at first, about halfway through the harvesting period Twomey stopped making his payments while continuing to harvest the landowner’s timber.
“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.”
Investigator Kuhnert first received the complaint on November 2, 2020. The suspect was then conducting business as One Up Services, an LLC based out of Tenaha, Texas, which is owned and operated by Twomey.
“Multiple opportunities were given to compensate the landowner in full, because that is our ultimate goal,” said Kuhnert. “When no resolution was reached, the case was submitted to a grand jury and received a grand jury indictment.”
Landowners who have entered into agreements with timber harvesting companies have the protection of the law under the Texas Natural Resources Code. Texas A&M Forest Service law enforcement investigators are subject matter experts regarding this code, and the natural resources code states that money collected from timber is trust money. If a trustee fails to pay all beneficiaries for the timber within 45 days of the timber being sold, that person has committed the offense of timber fraud.
“Timber Theft is a growing crime in Panola County, and my office will prosecute these crimes as they occur,” said Danny Buck Davidson, Criminal District Attorney. “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, and for more information, visit https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/lawenforcement/reporttimbertheft/