Baton Rouge, La. (December 23, 2014) – An investigation by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has resulted in two more felony timber theft charges for a Jena man. In all, this makes a total of eight felony timber theft counts against James Marcus Ainsworth since September.
Ainsworth, 39, of 254 Joiner Road was arrested last Friday morning by forestry agents and booked into the LaSalle Parish jail on two counts of felony timber theft totaling just over $14,600.
Investigators say complaints were filed by two LaSalle Parish landowners. The first complaint was made by an Olla couple who was promised $5,000-$6,000 for a thinning operation on 28 acres. However, LDAF investigators say additional timber was cut while the landowner was away. The second complaint was made by a Trout man who was initially told he would receive $6000-$10,000 for timber on his 11 ¾ acres, but he only received $1,240. The timber on both tracts was cut during the months of July and October 2013.
LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said, “Our investigators found that Ainsworth cut the timber with the landowner’s permission and that he was paid promptly for the timber. No scale tickets, settlement sheets or loader’s log were ever received by either landowner as required under state law. They simply received a check for a fraction of what they were promised.”
Ainsworth was originally arrested in September by forestry agents and booked into the LaSalle Parish jail on one count of felony timber theft of more than $10,400. Ainsworth was arrested again by forestry investigators on October 2 in LaSalle Parish for an additional count of felony timber theft of more than $28,000. Ainsworth was then arrested on October 31 for two additional counts of timber theft in Catahoula Parish totaling nearly $29,000 and again on November 24 for two counts of timber theft in LaSalle Parish totaling nearly $12, 500.
Anyone who may have done business with Ainsworth is asked to contact the LDAF office at (225) 925-4500.