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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont

Friday, January 30, 2015

Professional Cattle Thief Pleads Not Guilty

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Jason Amidon, 27, of Coudersport, Pennsylvania, was arraigned yesterday in United States District Court in Burlington, and pleaded not guilty to charges that he knowingly offered as payment for 53 Vermont cows a counterfeit certified check in the amount of $100,000, and unlawfully transported those cows from Lyndonville, Vermont, to auction in Greencastle, Pennsylvania.  U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy ordered the defendant detained pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

On January 15, 2015, a federal grand jury in Burlington returned a two count indictment accusing Amidon of uttering a counterfeit check and unlawfully transporting 53 stolen cows across state lines.  According to the complaint filed earlier in the case, on January 1, 2015, Amidon and his father traveled to a Lyndonville farm and presented a counterfeit check to the Vermont farmer, as payment for 53 Belted Galloway cattle, a heritage pedigree breed of cattle.  Amidon represented the $100,000 to be an initial payment, with the $20,000 balance to be paid to the farmer at a later date.  Amidon’s father then drove the cows to auction in Pennsylvania.

According to documents filed in court yesterday, this is Amidon’s fourth cattle fraud case.  Two previous Pennsylvania state cases that resulted in misdemeanor convictions concerned similar cattle frauds, and at the time of the instant offense, the defendant was facing state charges in Pennsylvania that involved the fraudulent promise of cattle for $135,000, which Amidon unlawfully pocketed. 

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.  If convicted on the charges in the instant indictment, Amidon faces up to ten years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.  The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.

This case is being investigated by the Vermont State Police in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Pennsylvania State Police were also instrumental in the investigation and arrest in Coudersport, Pennsylvania.

Amidon is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Elizabeth Quinn.  The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Abigail Averbach.

Updated June 22, 2015