Arrest Made in $5.8 Million Cattle Fraud Case

A Texas man has been arrested on theft charges in a case that encompasses more than ten counties in Texas and Oklahoma, 8,000 head of cattle and outstanding loans of more than $5.8 million. The investigation by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and Texas Rangers started more than a year ago. A bank contacted authorities after Howard Lee Hinkle, 67, defaulted on several loans worth millions. When bank officials acted on a court order to gather the approximately 8,000 yearling cattle put up as collateral they were unable to locate any of the animals. As the investigation continued, the Rangers identified various properties and cattle listed in the loans, but found that none were legitimately owned by Hinkle. Authorities suspect that Hinkle deceived the bank by showing them fraudulent documentation and cattle that belonged to other individuals. Hinkle was arrested this week and faces felony charges and up to life in prison.