27 count indictment handed down by criminal grand jury for father and son who embezzled and stole cattle from employers
VISALIA – Exeter’s alleged father and son theft and embezzlement duo saw the inside of a court room last week to be indicted. Then they returned on Monday to have their bail hearing set on June 27 and their jury trial set for Aug. 27.
Father Bruce Greer, 62, and son Justin Greer, 37, were handed a 27 count indicted from a criminal grand jury at the Tulare County Superior Court, Visalia Division, by Judge Nathan Leedy. The unsealed indictment charges the father and son with grand theft of cattle and embezzlement. The counts also carry special allegations that the total theft by each defendant was in excess of $1 million.
It is alleged that from 2012 to 2017, Bruce Greer embezzled from his employer, a trucking sales, service, and parts provider, in excess of $1 million.
The Tulare County sheriff’s Office deputies were first made aware of Bruce during the investigation of his son in June 2017. After an 8-month investigation TCSO announced the arrest of 62-year-old Bruce Greer of Exeter.
In August 2017, Tulare County Sheriff’s detectives located substantial evidence that Bruce Greer had been stealing money from his employer, E. M. Tharp, Inc./ Golden State Peterbilt, where he was the general manager.
Since that time, Tulare County Sheriff’s Agricultural Crimes Detectives, in conjunction with the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations, located and examined numerous financial institution records used by Bruce. After an extensive examination of those records, detectives determined that Bruce had embezzled at least $1.1 million over the last five years from the company.
The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Greer on April 30 and a warrant was issued for his arrest that same day. Bruce surrendered himself to authorities on May 3. He is currently being held on a $1.9 million bond.
It is alleged that from 2015 to 2017, Justin Greer committed grand theft of cattle from multiple victims throughout the western region of the United States.
Justin was arrested on Dec. 28, 2017 by a Fugitive Task Force made up of officials from the Texas Rangers, Midland County Sheriff’s Office, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service and the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Unit.
In all seven victims from California, Colorado and Wyoming lost a total of $1.5 million.
“This is 21st Century cattle rustling and embezzlement at the highest level,” Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said at the time. “We recovered 900 head of cattle back to our agricultural partners.”
The investigation was overseen by the Sheriff’s Cattle Liaison whom Sheriff Boudreaux had appointed to this special position last spring. He worked closely with detectives from the Sheriff’s Agricultural Crimes Unit to bring this suspect to justice.
“We, at the Sheriff’s Office, placed no limits on the use of resources for this investigation and the protection of our agricultural partners,” Sheriff Boudreaux said.
Greer’s arrest followed an intensive investigation that lasted six and a half months.
Sheriff Boudreaux said he is very proud of his Agricultural Crimes detectives for their hard work and dedication to the victims in this case.
“Given the complexity of this case, I am proud of the amount of progress they made to get this case to this point,” he said. “And I very much appreciate the assistance of other law enforcement agencies throughout the Western United States.”
The investigation was initiated on June 13, 2017, when the detectives were contacted by seven victims who provided statements and evidence that showed a combined loss of $1.5 million through cattle theft, investment fraud, embezzlement or a combination of all three.
Each victim identified Greer as the suspect.
For many years, Greer had been a widely known and respected cattleman in Tulare County. He bought and sold large numbers of cattle on a regular basis as a broker and managed several herds of cattle for various people across Tulare County.
Many of the cattle managed by Greer were owned by ranchers in other parts of California, Wyoming and Colorado.
According to victims, in April and May, Greer failed to meet his financial obligations, causing them to look closer at their business dealings with him. Two of the victims issued audits into the numbers of cattle they owned that had been managed by Greer.
Those audits showed hundreds of cattle had been stolen.
Other victims in this case had invested as partners with Greer. They later learned that the cattle they had invested in either weren’t Greer’s to sell in the first place or the cattle never existed at all, Sheriff Boudreaux said.
During the investigation, detectives worked closely with the California Bureau of Livestock Identification Brand Unit, as well as criminal investigators with the State of Wyoming Livestock Board. Working together, detectives learned that more than 900 head of cattle had been shipped into Wyoming by Greer.
These cattle had been illegally placed on pasture in Wyoming, Sheriff Boudreaux said.
They were later recovered by investigators with assistance from the State of Wyoming Livestock Board. The Sheriff’s investigation of Greer spawned a parallel criminal investigation by the U.S. Forest Service which is handling the investigation of the cattle Greer sent to Wyoming.
Greer had been doing business through a multitude of financial institutions with various accounts within each institution. Detectives authored and served more than 25 search warrants for these accounts as well as various offices, residences and a variety of electronic devices. From these searches, detectives obtained and reviewed thousands of financial documents and associated evidence which strongly corroborated the victims’ statements and losses.
In early December, detectives located Greer in Tarzan, Texas. Working closely with the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office and its Bureau of Investigation, Tulare County detectives authored an arrest warrant for Greer with a bail of nearly $2 million.
Detectives began working with a Fugitive Task Force comprised of officials from the Texas Rangers, The Midland County Sheriff’s Office, The Martin County Sheriff’s Office, The U.S. Marshals Service and the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Unit. Detectives from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Agricultural Crimes Unit traveled to Texas on Dec. 27, where they met up with and worked with the above mentioned Task Force.
The indictment also alleges his father’s involvement in these crimes. These crimes were described as “modern day cattle rustling.”