Fort Peck Man Faces Mail Fraud Charge
Bruce William Ferguson, 65, of Fork Peck made a not guilty plea to mail fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan in Billings on Sept. 7.
If convicted of the most serious crime, Ferguson faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Ferguson was released pending further proceeding. The Bureau of Land Management investigated the case.
According to court documents, Ferguson and Gene John Klamert made false reports and representations to the Bureau of Land Management beginning in or about May 2018 through May 2020 regarding sales of cattle that grazed on the Two Crow allotment. Ferguson signed bills of sale, purporting to sell cattle that he owned to Klamert, when in truth and in fact, no true sale or ownership transfer had taken place.
Court documents say that Klamert received these bills of sale in the mail from Ferguson, signed them and submitted them to the Bureau of Land Management and the American Prairie Reserve.
The Bureau of Land Management relied on these bills of sale from Klamert to assess the annual fee he owed to the United States under his grazing permit. By submitting the fraudulent bills of sale, Klamert claimed to own cattle that he did not in fact own, thereby avoiding surcharges owed to the United States. During this time, Klamert avoided additional fees by failing to report cattle owned by their parties that he grazed on the allotment.