Originally posted by: Celliach on 11/19/2005 7:14:45 AM
Pro Fisherman Faces Contest Fraud Charge
Man Accused Of Catching Bass Before Competition
UPDATED: 3:11 pm EST November 18, 2005
LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- A Missouri fisherman is accused of cheating in a professional bass tournament.
Paul Tormanen, 39, of Lee's Summit, faces a felony charge of contest fraud. He's suspected of catching bass before the competition and tying them to a stump, then submitting them during a competition in Louisiana last week, reported KMBC-TV in Kansas City, Mo.
Another competitor found tethered bass and informed authorities, who marked the fish, the television station reported. Tormanen was then questioned when he allegedly turned one of the marked fish in to be weighed at the Bassmaster Tournament on the Red River.
Fisherman who know Tormanen are shocked by the accusation.
"I just talked to him a couple weeks ago and personally congratulated him on such a successful season last year," pro bass fisherman Shane Voyles said. "He won, you know, $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 last year just in the Heartland ProAm circuit -- that's a local circuit around here."
"It's a sad thing ... I get phone calls from friends, 'Man, can you believe this?' We all knew the guy," he said.
Voyles has won a big bass tournament himself, which included a $51,000 prize and a trophy. He's also a spokesman for Xtreme Marine in Lee's Summit, and he said Tormanen's fraud charge has him worried about sponsorships.
"It could hurt those of us out there that are trying to raise revenue to help pay for our sponsorship. I mean, they're going to look at this and say, 'Wait a second here, is this a cheating sport?'" Voyles said.
Tormanen has posted bond and was released.
KMBC went to the address listed on Tormanen's arrest record and found the front door ajar. A sign on the door read, "Welcome Home Dad, We Miss You." When KMBC rang the bell, someone slammed the door shut.