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Fishing tournament director surrenders following indictment
AUSTIN - From Texas Parks and Wildlife
Texas Game Wardens have arrested Michael Shane McCloud of Florida (formerly of Bryan-College Station) for theft related to a fishing tournament.
Following his arrest, the 44-year-old McCloud was booked into the Jasper County Jail. No bond has been set.
The investigation that culminated in his arrest began in June 2012 after authorities received numerous complaints related to fishing tournament prize payouts that allegedly did not occur. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Wardens and investigators with other law enforcement agencies spent more than a year looking into the practices and methods McCloud used to promote a bass tournament on Lake Sam Rayburn in June 2012.
After an extensive, multi-jurisdictional investigation in which numerous tournament participants and sponsors in several states were interviewed, a sealed indictment naming McCloud was returned by a Jasper County grand jury. Ultimately, an arrest warrant was issued for McCloud on the theft charge, a state jail felony punishable by a $1,500 to $20,000 fine and from 180 days to two years in jail.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Department law enforcement officers assisted Texas Game Wardens in locating McCloud. After being notified to the indictment pending against him, he turned himself in to authorities.
"Due to good police work, collaboration and teamwork this case is now ready to be put in the hands of the court," said Lt. Col. Danny Shaw, assistant commander of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Division. "Texas Game Wardens intend to remain focused on protecting our resources as well as the citizens of Texas from those who wish to exploit either. Fishing tournaments in Texas are a fabric of many communities and reservoirs and Game Wardens will continue to play a role in ensuring they are conducted in a manner consistent with the law."
McClouds arrest marks the first time a fishing tournament director has been arrested in Texas.
JASPER COUNTY - by Steve W Stewart/KJAS & Rayburn Broadcasting Company
Texas Parks & Wildlife officials say a fishing tournament director, who was indicted by the Jasper County Grand Jury, turned himself in Wednesday and is now behind bars after being a fugitive from justice for several months.
Michael McCloud, founder and director of Big Bass Mania, was named in a sealed indictment which was handed up by grand jurors earlier this year.
However, Parks & Wildlife officials say McCloud's surrender came only after lengthy attempts to locate him, and several other state agencies had to become involved.
McCloud and Big Bass Mania had been under investigation since a June 2012 benefit fishing tournament on Lake Sam Rayburn, in which many participants complained to law enforcement officials, and also to KJAS News, of "irregularities." Additionally, the beneficiary of the tournament, the Wounded Warriors chapter in Jasper, said it never received a dime of money that was supposed to be earmarked for the organization.
KJAS News communicated with McCloud by email and telephone shortly after the tournament, and we asked him about the complaints against his organization. McCloud strongly denied any wrongdoing.
McCloud is currently in the Jasper County Jail awaiting formal charges and arraignment.