Feds Punish Retired Us Forest Service Official for Stealing Horses and Mules

(NewsSpace.com) – US Forest Service employees are responsible for protecting and managing the National Forest System lands. While they work, they are given access to government resources. Sometimes, employees abuse those resources, and that’s exactly what one retired worker is accused of.

On Monday, February 26, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming announced that 54-year-old Ronald Ostrom had been sentenced to 24 months of probation, six of which he must serve on home confinement for stealing a government-owned horse. He was also ordered to pay $11,747 in restitution, a fine of $2,500, and $600 in special assessments.

The saga began in May 2022, when Ostrom was indicted on charges of stealing two horses—Reo and Roany—belonging to the US Forest Service, after swapping them out with two of his own. He was supposed to, at the end of his service with the agency, return the horses but failed to do so. He was also accused of stealing two molly mules (female mules)—Rosy and Roxy—and planning to claim them as his own.

In a superseding indictment, the charges against Ostrom grew exponentially. He was slapped with two counts of false writing or documents, two counts of making false statements, five counts of concealing and retaining government goods and property, and six counts of conversion of government property. In addition to stealing the horses, prosecutors allege he stole more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition, a 1997 Lariat snowmobile trailer reported to be worth more than $1,000 in value, and packing equipment for horses. The equipment included Alforjas/Decker Pannier bags, Decker hooks, scales, chain hobbles, and a packing tent.

Ostrom pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him. They reportedly took place between 2018 and 2022. However, despite his efforts to deny the allegations, he was convicted on December 8 of six felony charges, after a five-day trial.

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