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Man Convicted In Deceptive Forestry Case

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/8/2018 11:50:06 PM
Modified: 10/8/2018 11:50:12 PM

North Haverhill — A Massachusetts man with Hanover ties has been convicted of three felony charges for using deceptive forestry business practices on jobs in Grafton and Sullivan counties, according to state officials.

Arthur Stout, now of Wareham, Mass., recently was found guilty in Grafton Superior Court of violating a state law that governs timber harvesting in New Hampshire, the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources said in a recent news release.

Stout received a 12-month prison sentence for each of the three counts, but a judge suspended the sentences as long as Stout remains of good behavior and complies with court orders for the next seven years.

Stout was ordered to pay $53,450 in restitution to the three landowners who contracted with him to harvest timber from their properties. State officials said the properties involved were located in Hanover, Wentworth and Unity.

Stout grew up in Hanover and is the owner and president of Northern Timber Inc., a logging firm he created in 1988. A 2016 fire destroyed a processor and dry kiln he operated on Ferry Road in Hartland.

The Northern Timber website says the firm now is based in Wareham, Mass., and has “changed from a logging firm to a construction and land clearing company.”

Another stipulation of Stout’s sentence is that he not buy or sell forest products in the state of New Hampshire.

Timber harvesters in New Hampshire can face felony sanctions for several reasons: if they use a false weight or measure to determine harvesting time; sell or deliver less than what they agreed upon; take or attempt to take more than the represented quantity of any forest product; or don’t pay the timber owner the value of the product, among other possibilities, according to state law.

Forest Ranger Capt. Douglas Miner said Stout was convicted for “failure to pay the land owner(s), or remuneration, for the agreed-upon value based on the contract.”

Reached by phone on Monday, Stout declined to comment.

State Forest Rangers conducted an “extensive investigation” into Stout after they received several complaints involving “multiple violations” to the deceptive forestry business practices law, the release said.

“The successful conclusion of these cases represents an important step in protecting New Hampshire landowners from the fraudulent acts of this individual,” said Steven Sherman, chief of the Forest Protection Bureau with the state Division of Forests and Lands, according to the release. “While there are many honest professionals employed within the forestry community, this specific instance of unscrupulous criminal behavior highlights the importance for landowners to seek the advice of professionals when they decide to sell their timber.”

Stout, 49, unsuccessfully ran for a New Hampshire House seat in Hanover as a Republican in 2010.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com.




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