COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Georgia man convicted in Ohio of charges involving illegal trafficking in white-tailed deer was ordered to pay fines and restitution of $1.6 million, which federal officials say is the largest sum of money an individual has been ordered to pay for a U.S. wildlife crime.
A federal prosecutors’ statement says 61-year-old Benjamin Chason, of Climax, Georgia, pleaded guilty in May and was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Columbus for three charges related to violating the Lacey Act. Court documents unsealed this week say he also received three years’ probation.
Court documents say Chason and a co-conspirator trafficked in live white-tailed deer and sold illegal white-tailed deer hunts at a hunting preserve in Logan, Ohio. Chason was part-owner of that preserve and owned a property containing white-tail deer in Georgia.