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Cheaters on Eagle Mountain #14430399 07/26/22 01:44 PM
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dkmore Offline OP
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I've had a lot of calls regarding the incident that happened at our Eagle Mountain Tuesday Night Tournaments on June 14th when we caught a young man cheating. I want to explain everything that happened and what's happening with the investigation so that there is no misinformation circulated through rumors.

On June 14th, I received word that someone found laundry baskets tied together and placed in the water with fish in them. It was early in the day (prior to our tournament) and the game warden was notified but unable to get to the lake before the fish were released by the person who found them. We had no idea who placed the basket but assumed that it might be from someone fishing the tournament that night. Ryan Dusek agreed to wait in the tree line and watch once the tournament started to see who, if anyone, would go look for those fish. Just a few minutes after the start of the tournament, I received word that there was a boat with a young man (unknown who he was at that time) who was looking at the basket. He pulled the basket up and saw that the fish were missing. However, there was a second basket of fish that the game warden (and whoever found the first basket) missed. My guy hiding in the trees was able to video this person pull the basket up and dump the fish into his boat and then he idled out a little ways and began placing the fish on his cull tags and placing them into his live well.

Monte Coon and I immediately went to this boat and personally saw him picking up the fish in his boat and when he noticed us, he started throwing the bass back out into the water. I called out to him and then pulled up next to him and confronted him about the fish. He denied cheating and stated that he "just happened to find a basket with bass" and that he was "going to keep them in his live well to release them later back into the water." I requested that he submit to a polygraph, and he refused.
I suggested that he dump the fish and leave immediately. Our rules state that anyone who refuses to take a polygraph can be disqualified so I made a decision for the current tournament based on that.

I followed up with the game warden who had been notified that same day. She took my information and spoke with everyone who witnessed what happened. For their investigation, we turned over the video and pictures of this guy pulling up the baskets and getting the bass. I let her know his name, Josh Phillips, and that him and his partner, Joe Zimmerman, had placed 2nd in our tournament the week before and drew a check, and may have been cheating then as well. She agreed and started an investigation.

I followed up with the game warden later and she let me know that she spoke with both boys and they both confessed to catching the bass the day before and placing them in the baskets for the purpose of cheating in the tournament. She had their confessions, as well as video and picture evidence, so she would be prosecuting them.

A couple of weeks later I received a phone call from the game warden to let me know that her captain had requested that she drop all charges. I was confused and she stated that he felt like it would be best to just drop all charges and not prosecute at all since they were minors. I was shocked so I requested a phone call with her captain to discuss the matter, especially since these boys admitted to the cheating and had cashed a check in the tournament the week before. I stood my ground that these boys needed to be punished at some capacity and have some consequences, but her captain refused and told me that they did receive a citation but said that he couldn't disclose what it was for. I just think it's odd that I was told they were going to drop all charges but then the captain said a citation was given to them but couldn't tell me what it was for. I honestly do appreciate everything that TP&W does to protect our resources, but I think that these boys should be held accountable, at some capacity, for their actions

I have spoken with other tournament directors in the area and with THSBA but I'm not sure what their decisions will be. As for me and my organization, these guys will never be able to fish any TTO event or anything affiliated with TTO.
I think that since TP&W is doing very little, if any, we should at least do all we can to get their names out there and let everyone know the facts about what happened and how they had a deliberate and premeditated plan to cheat.


Moritz Chevrolet - 9101 Camp Bowie W Blvd, Fort Worth, TX - Monte Coon (817) 696-2003
Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: dkmore] #14430410 07/26/22 01:52 PM
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Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: dkmore] #14430413 07/26/22 01:55 PM
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I am curious to know what laws were broke and what the citation may have been? We all know cheating is wrong and they should probably be banned from any of your events for the future, but is it truly illegal, and if so, what punishment would fit the crime? What laws did they break, I am assuming that if they had multiple baskets of fish then would they only be able to give the boys a citation for over the possession limit?

Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: dkmore] #14430417 07/26/22 01:59 PM
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Isn't this called "theft by deception"? Depending on the amount of the potential prize/winnings, it could be a felony.

Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: JoshMathes] #14430418 07/26/22 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JoshMathes
I am curious to know what laws were broke and what the citation may have been? We all know cheating is wrong and they should probably be banned from any of your events for the future, but is it truly illegal, and if so, what punishment would fit the crime? What laws did they break, I am assuming that if they had multiple baskets of fish then would they only be able to give the boys a citation for over the possession limit?


Yep, illegal.
(3) the person, as a participant in the tournament, represents that a fish was caught by the person in the course of the tournament when in fact the fish was not caught by that person or the fish was not caught in the course of that tournament;

punishment

(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, except that if the offense occurred during a tournament in which any prize or combination of prizes to be awarded for any one category for which an award is given, whether the prize or prizes are to an individual or a team, is worth $10,000 or more in money or goods, the offense is a felony of the third degree.

Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: JoshMathes] #14430428 07/26/22 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by JoshMathes
I am curious to know what laws were broke and what the citation may have been? We all know cheating is wrong and they should probably be banned from any of your events for the future, but is it truly illegal, and if so, what punishment would fit the crime? What laws did they break, I am assuming that if they had multiple baskets of fish then would they only be able to give the boys a citation for over the possession limit?


Can’t believe this was even asked…

https://codes.findlaw.com/tx/parks-and-wildlife-code/parks-wild-sect-66-023.html
a) In this section, “fishing tournament” means a contest in which a prize is to be awarded to one or more participants in the contest based on the weight, length, number, or type of fish caught by the participants or based on any other criteria applicable to the fish caught.

(b) A person commits an offense if, with intent to affect the outcome of a fishing tournament:

(1) the person provides, offers to provide, sells, or offers to sell a fish to a participant in the tournament for the purpose of representing that the fish was caught by the participant in the course of the tournament;

(2) the person, as a participant in the tournament, accepts or agrees to accept a fish from another person for the purpose of representing that the fish was caught by the participant in the course of the tournament;

(3) the person, as a participant in the tournament, represents that a fish was caught by the person in the course of the tournament when in fact the fish was not caught by that person or the fish was not caught in the course of that tournament;

(4) the person alters the length or weight of a fish for the purpose of representing that the fish as entered in the tournament was that length or weight when caught;  or

(5) the person enters a fish in the tournament that was taken in violation of any provision of this code or a proclamation or regulation of the commission adopted under this code.

(c) A person commits an offense if the person sponsors or conducts a fishing tournament and knows of the occurrence in the tournament of activity prohibited by Subsection (b) of this section and does not immediately notify a law enforcement officer commissioned by the director of its occurrence.

(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, except that if the offense occurred during a tournament in which any prize or combination of prizes to be awarded for any one category for which an award is given, whether the prize or prizes are to an individual or a team, is worth $10,000 or more in money or goods, the offense is a felony of the third degree.


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Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: JoshMathes] #14430436 07/26/22 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by JoshMathes
I am curious to know what laws were broke and what the citation may have been? We all know cheating is wrong and they should probably be banned from any of your events for the future, but is it truly illegal, and if so, what punishment would fit the crime?


Found the cheater....
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Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: dkmore] #14430437 07/26/22 02:10 PM
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So Josh Phillips and Joe Zimmerman that both fish for Byron Nelson HS.


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Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: dkmore] #14430439 07/26/22 02:11 PM
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Scumbags.


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Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: dkmore] #14430443 07/26/22 02:16 PM
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They need to be banned from tourneys, thsba needs to ban them from participation, it will be pretty easy to see if they did , if they dont not one tourny guy should captain for them again, not one. and its unfortunate the game warden wont pursue a charge. Thank you for doing you best to keep your events honest. Probably the best run trail out there

Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: JoshMathes] #14430450 07/26/22 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by JoshMathes
I am curious to know what laws were broke and what the citation may have been? We all know cheating is wrong and they should probably be banned from any of your events for the future, but is it truly illegal, and if so, what punishment would fit the crime? What laws did they break, I am assuming that if they had multiple baskets of fish then would they only be able to give the boys a citation for over the possession limit?

lol

Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: buda13] #14430454 07/26/22 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by buda13
So Josh Phillips and Joe Zimmerman that both fish for Byron Nelson HS.


If those boys did confess to the crime with the game warden and this is swept under the rug with a citation and not handled any further, it would be completely irresponsible by TPWD as well as any tournament organization available to them IMHO.

Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: dkmore] #14430455 07/26/22 02:20 PM
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they will not fish a major tournament in the Texas again

Last edited by coachallentca; 07/26/22 02:21 PM.


Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: buda13] #14430456 07/26/22 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by buda13
So Josh Phillips and Joe Zimmerman that both fish for Byron Nelson HS.


I'll say again, if they are allowed to fish thsba not one tournament guy should captain for any thsba event.

Re: Cheaters on Eagle Mountain [Re: JoshMathes] #14430459 07/26/22 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by JoshMathes
I am curious to know what laws were broke and what the citation may have been? We all know cheating is wrong and they should probably be banned from any of your events for the future, but is it truly illegal, and if so, what punishment would fit the crime? What laws did they break, I am assuming that if they had multiple baskets of fish then would they only be able to give the boys a citation for over the possession limit?


I hope you dont fish tourneys

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