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U.P. Timber Harvester Sentenced for Illegally Cutting and Removing State Timber

LANSING - A Stephenson man charged in connection to stealing more than $100,000 of timber from the State was sentenced to probation and a suspended jail sentence, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.

Raymond Vetort - owner of R&J Logging, an independent logging company - was bound over for trial in July. He pleaded guilty to trespassing with damages to state land-$20,000 or more in October.

Although Vetort's business had a contract to enter and log on state land, he allegedly marked and took timber that was not allowed by the contract and in areas not included in the agreement.

Monday before Judge Chris Ninomiya in Menominee County Circuit Court, Vetort was sentenced to three years' probation and a suspended six months in jail, plus costs and restitution.

"I'm proud of the work done to secure this guilty plea and sentence against Mr. Vetort," Nessel said. "This serves as a reminder that stealing our State's resources will not be tolerated by my office."

Vetort will also pay $119,529.40 in restitution, $50,000 of which was due by sentencing. A restitution hearing will be allowed to determine if previous payments will be credited to the restitution amount. He is also barred from bidding on DNR logging contracts as part of the plea agreement.