Alfred “Tom” Mead, 72, pled guilty to a felony charge of Theft By Swindle May 20, for sneaking a previously caught fish into the tournament Feb. 2. He has two prior gaming convictions and a decade-long trail of suspicion about his tournament winnings.
“Your conduct had a major impact on these things (fishing tournaments),” Judge Robert Tiffany scolded him. “I hope you realize the seriousness of your conduct.”Cheating, the judge said. “takes the enjoyment and joy out of it for those who bring their kids” and honest participants.
Mead is to report to the Hubbard County jail in one week.
He will be on probation for four years, during which he is barred from the Legion Club, was fined $200 and ordered to pay a $75 public defender co-payment.
During his probation, prosecutor Erika Randall asked that he not be allowed to participate in any fishing contests or tournaments, and that he apologize to the Legion.
Several Legion representatives were in the courtroom but chose not to speak. After the sentencing, they said justice was served.
“I like what the judge said at the end about ruining a family outing,” Legion manager Jerry Benham said.
Mead has been a winner at the Park Rapids tourney before, along with other regional fishing contests in which he won major prizes.
The felony he was convicted of carried a maximum of 5 years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.