A Fruita man was charged with falsely labeling a bobcat and trying to sell the animal across state lines

A 46-year-old Fruita man has been charged with violating federal wildlife preservation laws by allegedly transporting a bobcat across state boundaries for commerce.

Thad Bingham was charged Friday with a felony violation of the Lacey Act by falsely labeling a bobcat and then sending it across state lines for sale, according to U.S. District Court of Denver court records.

Bingham faces up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. The charge stems from an attempt to sell a bobcat on or about Feb. 24, 2014, for more than $350, the charging documents say.

The case was prosecuted by an attorney from the federal Environment and Natural Resources Division.

It wasn’t the first time that Bingham faced illegal wildlife charges.

On Sept. 27, 2014, Bingham was arrested on six misdemeanor counts related to illegal possession of wildlife. He pleaded guilty in a plea deal to trespassing and illegal possession of wildlife in Garfield County Court in Rifle.

On Feb. 6, 1990, Bingham was charged with two counts of hunting without a valid license in Pitkin County Court when he was 18, according to court records. The disposition of the case was not available.

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