News Releases

Chiefland bass fisherman faces fraud charges

News Release

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

A Chiefland man is facing several charges stemming from his activities at a weekly bass tournament in Dixie County.

Cedric Jerome Perry (DOB 07/03/79) confessed to catching fish in other lakes and then bringing them to the weigh-in at the bass tournament at the Joe Anderson Boat Ramp in Old Town, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers.

FWC Officer Sam Dishman had received information about the possibility of cheating occurring at the tournament. Suspicions arose when Perry began winning numerous tournaments and catching fish when no one else was having any luck.

According to FWC Investigator Larry Ayers, Perry was under surveillance for the Aug. 10 contest.

"These tournaments generally start at 5:30 p.m. and last until around 8:30 p.m.," Ayers said. "We watched him the entire time and didn't see him catch much."

At the weigh-in, Perry had five fish, including an 8- and a 9-pound bass.

"We never saw him catch either of these fish," Ayers said. "Perry also won this tournament."

The officers didn't believe Perry would try it again so soon, but he showed up at the next tournament on Aug. 17. Once again, the FWC officers had their eye on him. 

"While we had people watching Mr. Perry during the tournament, Officer Justin Allen and I checked out his vehicle by looking through the windows," Ayers said. "In plain sight, at a public boat ramp, on the passenger floor board, there was a cooler. We also heard an aerator running in the truck."

The officers quickly changed plans and began watching Perry's vehicle.

"When he got to his truck, he removed the cooler and put it in his boat," Ayers said. "There were fish in the cooler. He put them with the other fish he had caught during the tournament."

Once again, Perry had the winning catch. After the weigh-in, the officers approached him and got statements about the fish.

"He explained he had caught those fish that morning at Clay Landing," Ayers said. "He also said he had caught the two fish he won the Aug. 10 tournament with at Orange Lake."

Officers also discovered that Perry didn't have a valid fishing license and there were additional fish on his boat, putting him over the bag limit.

Charges were filed with the Dixie County State Attorney's Office and include fraud and fishing-license and bag-limit violations.

"This is a good case that came about because of the relationships maintained by ethical sportsmen and our law enforcement staff, who share the common goal of protecting the sport and our natural resources," said Capt. Martin Redmond, FWC North Central Region investigations captain.



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