Canal Wood, the nation’s largest privately held provider of wood fiber supply chain services, has paid the U.S. government $520,064 as settlement related to findings that Canal failed to report approximately 1,000 timber scale tickets on settlement sheets for timber it cut on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Carolina Sandhills Wildlife Refuge in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, dating back to 1999.
This development, which became a civil case, evolved from a criminal case that stemmed from a land-for-timber swap. Canal Wood had approached the Fish & Wildlife Service about trading some Canal Wood property adjacent FWS land. The government agency offered timber on the Refuge to pay for the Canal property.
According to a U.S. Dept. of Justice attorney, the FWS became concerned when Canal’s periodic settlement sheets seemed to grossly under-report and under-value the amount of timber Canal was removing from the tract that was to compensate for the Canal property deal. When the Canal forester inquired about accessing additional timber, the government forester then scoped out the timber removal and reported it had significantly exceeded the volume and value reported by Canal.
The government approached Canal Wood about the discrepancy and ultimately Canal Wood forester Markus Gaskins was found to have been “pulling tickets,” according to the attorney. He pled guilty in 2006 to timber theft and received a fine and probation. Canal Wood paid the FWS for the skimmed timber.