POSTED: Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 3:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 3:04pm
CLAIBORNE PARISH, LA — For the fourth time in less than three months, a Greenwood man has been arrested by Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) enforcement agents and charged, this time, with one count of theft by fraud of timber and one count of attempted felony theft.
David Lubas, 61, of Greenwood, was booked into the Claiborne Parish jail in Homer Friday morning. He was charged with theft by fraud of timber valued at approximately $37,700 and attempted felony theft of timber valued at approximately $10,000.
Investigators say Lubas was working as a consultant forester when a Claiborne Parish absentee landowner, asked him to help sell her timber. Lubas reportedly told the landowner he had solicited bids and had obtained a high bid of $28,228 for her timber. At that point, the landowner signed a contract with the logging company and received a lump sum payment for her timber.
Unknown to the landowner, investigators say Lubas actually received a high bid of $65,928. According to statements from the logging company, Lubas directed the company to issue him two checks totaling $37,700 in which one was listed as commission and the other was listed as site prep, burning and planting cost for services that were to be performed on the property which were never performed.
After receiving the check for $28,228, investigators say Lubas sent a bill to the landowner for a 12 percent commission. The landowner then sent Lubas a payment for $3,387.36.
The charge of attempted felony theft stems from a family of four Claiborne Parish absentee landowners who hired Lubas to sell their timber. Lubas reportedly told the landowners he found a timber company to cut the timber on a pay-as-cut basis and got the best prices possible. According to investigators, all four landowners signed the contract and the logging company was less than two weeks away from moving in on the property when Lubas was arrested in early August and the landowners stopped the sale.
Investigators found Lubas had directed the timber company to withhold money for a commission which would have resulted in Lubas receiving at least $10,000.
“If any other landowners believe they’ve had dealings with Mr. Lubas, we urge you to contact the Department of Agriculture and Forestry at 225-925-4500. It’s important that we collect as much information as possible to ensure that we stop people accused of these types of crimes,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
Bond was set at 20,000.