Florida tournament angler charged with cheating

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A bass tournament angler was recently accused of rigging a tournament on the Suwannee River in Dixie County, Fla.

Cedric Jerome Perry, 31, was arrested and charged last week with fraud, grand theft, fishing license and bag-limit violations. Authorities reportedly had Perry under surveillance for close to a month.

He reportedly confessed to catching fish in other lakes and then bringing them to the weigh-in at the Joe Anderson Boat Ramp in Old Town, according to reports released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and reported in the Lake City Reporter newspaper.

Earlier this summer, Mike Hart, a successful Southern California pro whose career earnings total more than $200,000, was accused of cheating during the recent $100,000 U.S. Open held at Lake Mead.

According to FWC reports, officer Sam Dishman received information about the possibility of cheating occurring at the weekly Florida tournaments and suspicions arose when Perry began winning numerous tournaments and catching fish when no one else was catching quality stringers.

Perry was under surveillance Aug. 10 at another tournament.

"These tournaments generally start at 5:30 p.m. and last until around 8:30 p.m. We watched him the entire time and didn't see him catch much," FWC investigator Larry Ayers said in a prepared statement.

At the weigh-in, Perry had five fish, including an 8- and 9-pound bass, the newspaper reported.

Perry participated in another tournament Aug. 17 and FWC officers continued their surveillance of his activities. While other officers watched Perry, Ayers and another FWC officer checked his vehicle at the public boat ramp by looking through the window, where they saw a cooler on the passenger floorboard and reported hearing an aerator running in the truck.

After the weigh-in, officers approached him and questioned him about the fish.

During their investigation, officers also discovered that Perry didn't have a valid fishing license and there were additional fish on his boat, putting him over the bag limit.

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