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INCLINE VILLAGE WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO REMOVING PINE TREES FROM FOREST SERVICE LANDS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2008

Reno, Nev. – Patricia M. Vincent, 58, of Incline Village, Nevada, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Brian Sandoval to a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully cutting trees on United States land, announced Gregory A. Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

On April 7, 2007, Vincent hired a commercial tree removal service to cut down three 80- to 100-year-old Ponderosa Pine trees from a U.S. Forest Service lot adjacent to the lot where she resides without the knowledge or permission of the U.S. Forest Service or other governmental agency. The U.S. Forest Service lot, located at 590 Driver Way, was classified as an environmentally sensitive lot, and it had been rehabilitated and reserved as property of the public.

"It is important for individuals to recognize that public lands are held in trust for the benefit of all citizens, and that activities on these lands are restricted," said U.S. Attorney Brower. "Individuals who do not respect public land restrictions and cause damage may be prosecuted."

The plea agreement states that the Government agrees to recommend a sentence of one year probation, and Patricia Vincent agrees to perform 80 hours of community service in Incline Village, and make restitution of $100,000, $35,000 of which will go to the U.S. Forest Service and $65,000 of which will go to the National Forest Foundation, a congressionally-chartered nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service. The Court has the ultimate authority to impose any sentence within the statutory maximum set for the crime, which is not more than one year in prison, a $100,000 fine, and mandatory restitution.

Vincent was indicted by the Federal Grand Jury in January on charges of Willingly Injuring Property of the United States and Theft of Government Property.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 3rd, 2008, at 10:30 a.m.

The case is being investigated by the United States Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald C. Rachow.

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