Gray found guilty in cattle theft case in Belmont Co.

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SALEM, Ohio – The first time he only got 17 months. This time around, the penalty was stiffer.

Previously convicted cattle thief Christopher Gray was sentenced May 30 to serve five years in the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, for his role in bilking Belmont County farmers out of 253 head of cattle and more than $100,000 earlier this year.

Five years is the maximum sentence for the crime, a third degree felony. Gray is currently appealing the case, according to officials at the county clerk of courts office.

This time around. According to Belmont County Sheriff’s Detective Bart Giesey, Gray, 26, allegedly presented himself as a livestock dealer to cattle owners, offering better-than-market prices to the owners and offering to haul the cattle to an area livestock auction and sell them on the owners’ behalf.

During his recent spree, he was using the alias of Lee Genovese and Genovese Trucking and Livestock Company.

Gray was arrested by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department Feb. 6 during a routine traffic stop.

Gray was previously found guilty in 1999 and served 17 months for fraud, passing bad checks and theft related to similar cattle deals. In his previous conviction, farmers were never paid, or received bad checks or checks drawn on closed accounts.

– Andrea Myers

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