Hook, line and sinker: Fisherman gets week in jail for cheating in tournament

A Minnesota fisherman long suspected of cheating at tournaments has reportedly hooked an unwanted catch — a week in jail.

The Park Rapids Enterprise reports that Alfred Mead, 72, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of theft by swindle on May 20 for bringing two previously captured fish into the Park Rapid American Legion Community Fishing Derby on Feb. 2.

“Your conduct had a major impact on these [fishing tournaments],” Judge Robert Tiffany told Mead. “I hope you realize the seriousness of your conduct.”

Cheating, Tiffany said, “takes the enjoyment and joy out of it for those who bring their kids” and honest participants.

Mead, who has two prior gaming convictions and a decade-long trail of suspicious tournament winnings, is to report to the Hubbard County jail in one week, the newspaper reports.

Mead also will receive four years’ probation and a $200 fine. He is also barred from the Legion Club for the length of his probation.

Mead had faced a maximum penalty of five years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine. He admitted catching two northern pike at another lake and bringing them to the American Legion tournament. His fishing and hunting privileges were also revoked for two years.

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