On March 20, 2012, Levy County Sheriff's Office Investigator Jimmy Anderson received a call from local attorney, Ray Earl Thomas, who represents Larry Lindsey, owner of Lindsey Cattle Company. Thomas reported that his client Lindsey won the bid to purchase the cattle sold by the local FFA students at the Suwannee River Fair. Lindsey contracted with Ron Shepard to pick up and deliver the cows to United Producers Inc. in Illinois. All seemed to be going fine until Shepard did not return with the money.
Ron Shepard picked up 146 cows from the Suwannee River Fairgrounds on March 21, 2012. He also had an additional 17 cows on the truck that Lindsey had purchased from the Okeechobee County Fair days earlier.
Ron Shepard made the delivery and received a check from United Producers Inc. for the amount of $200,000.21. However, he disappeared after taking possession of the check. Ron Shepard's business partner, Jeremy Pierce contacted Law Enforcement in Illinois to make the report of his missing business partner.
As Investigator Anderson began to look into this matter, he discovered other states also had active investigations. Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky and Texas all wanted to speak to these men regarding the theft of cattle from their states. Inv. Anderson discovered that Ron Shepard had been in contact with United Producers prior to his arrival. Shepard had United Producers write the check meant for Levy County FFA kids to his personal business, Brookfield Cattle, which is owned by himself and Jeremy Pierce. Through aggressive investigative work, Inv. Anderson obtained video from a bank in Illinois showing Jeremy Pierce depositing the check meant for Levy County FFA kids. Somehow, Pierce obtained the check from Shepard and deposited it into a second business account titled Brookport Cattle Company.
Inv. Anderson's diligent work and persistence led him to contact the FBI and the Florida Division of Agriculture and the joint investigation yielded more than ample evidence for Inv. Anderson to obtain warrants for both men.
On April 19, 2012, Inv. Anderson met with 8th Circuit Judge David Glant and secured warrants to arrest Ron Shepard and Jeremy Pierce for Scheme to Defraud. Each warrant had a bond of $1,000,000.00 (One MILLION dollars). Pierce turned himself in to authorities in Illinois but Shepard is still at large.
Lt. Scott Tummond
Criminal Investigations Division
Levy County Sheriff's Office