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Morgan County man indicted for fraudulently selling timber rights

A federal grand jury today indicted a Morgan County man on fraud charges connected to a scheme to collect $52,000 by presenting himself as a landowner with timber to sell, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Roy Sexton.

An indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Tommy D. Fuqua, 49, also known as Tommy Briscoe, with 14 counts of wire fraud.

According to the indictment, Fuqua posed as an absentee landowner living in Virginia who owned timber land in St. Clair County. Posing as the property owner, Fuqua sold the timber rights to an Alabama timber broker.

The suspect negotiated the terms of the deal over the telephone using a cell phone with a Virginia area code. The indictment’s 14 counts correspond with 14 phone calls. The timber broker paid Fuqua $52,000 and received a false timber deed from him.

If convicted, Fuqua faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

The Secret Service, with assistance from the Springville Police Department, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Davis Barlow is prosecuting the case.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.