POLICE: Indiana man who sold fake contracts to hunters could fac - WDRB 41 Louisville News

POLICE: Indiana man who sold fake contracts to hunters could face more charges

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Samuel Hughes Samuel Hughes

FRENCH LICK, Ind. (WDRB) -- Police say a southern Indiana man sold leases to deer hunters allowing them onto private property -- but he didn't own the land.

After a deer hunter was recently caught trespassing on property owned by French Lick Resort, officers realized there was something suspicious going on.

The hunter claimed he had paid to hunt on the land and had documents to prove it.

Turns out, he'd been scammed.

"The suspect, Mr. Hughes, had actual documents that he had prepared himself that was like a contractual lease with the people who were looking to hunt on the property. He had no contractual interest in any of the properties so that's where the issue came into play,” said Jim Hash, conservation officer with Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Samuel Hughes, 36, was arrested and charged with theft but more charges are possible.

Conservation officer Jim Hash says Hughes owns a business called Nature's Ridge Whitetails Outfitters.

He says Hughes would sell a fake one-year exclusive hunting lease to customers at a high price.

“It's unknown as the investigation is ongoing at this point but it's upwards of thousands of dollars,” said Hash.

Police say they know of at least eight victims so far but there could be more.

"Most were hunters from out of state,” Hash told WDRB.

Officers executed a search warrant on Hughes' cell phone, and during an interview, he confessed to his involvement.

Officials aren't sure how long Hughes has gotten away with his illegal operation.

"As the investigation continues, I'm sure we'll find out that it could be a significant period of time If you have the proper letter head, it's pretty easy to fool someone,” said Hash.

If you have any information or you think you're a victim of this crime, you're asked to contact Indiana Conservation Officers’ Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536. 

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