The scales of justice reeled in a couple of Utah men who were angling to win a bass fishing competition – but ended up pleading gill-ty to felonies for cheating, according to reports.
Robert Dennett, 45, and Kamron Wootton, 35, both of Washington City, recently admitted to illegally relocating fish during a 2018 tournament at Lake Powell, the St. George News reported.
They “captured, or intentionally aided a co-defendant in capturing several bass fish from the Quail Lake Reservoir without the proper authorization or permits and then transported the fish to Lake Powell,” according to charging documents cited by ABC 4.
The men relocated the fish with the purpose of influencing the outcome of the contest, the documents state.
“Some of the largemouth bass they’d turned in had little heads and fatter bodies, indicating a different diet than the fish at Lake Powell, which were more lean,” Division of Wildlife Resources Lt. Paul Washburn said in a statement, according to the St. George News.
“The fish also had red fins, which indicated they had undergone some stress.”
Officers with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources received a report of the illegal activity on Oct. 21, 2018, through a hotline.
Under Utah law, it is illegal to transport live fish to other areas of the state without the proper authorization.
An investigation found that the two men also had taken first, second or third place at eight other fishing tournaments in 2018.
On Aug. 2, they pleaded guilty before Judge Wallace Lee in Kane County to one count each of third-degree felony bribery or threat to influence a contest and misdemeanor charges of unlawful release of wildlife and unlawful captivity of protected wildlife.
The fishy felons were fined $2,500, ordered to perform 48 hours of community service and face two years of probation.
The charges will be dismissed once they successfully complete all the sentencing requirements.