The last co-defendant to be sentenced for involvement in an unusual fraud in which eight heavily insured horses were driven off a cliff was given 18 months in federal prison Monday.
The sentence to Rocky Beene, 48, of Junction, Tex., is the stiffest handed down to four people involved in the scheme that involved a staged accident off Interstate 8 near Jacumba on May 16, 1983.
U. S. District Judge J. Lawrence Irving allowed Beene to remain free until Sept. 15, when he will begin his term.
The plot by the defendants involved a phony claim to an insurance company asking for $83,000 for the horses’ deaths, even though six of them were old. The company never paid the claim, but its investigation and a lawsuit led to criminal charges in March, 1988.
Also on Monday, the original owner of the horses, Raymond Paul, 53, of Keyes, Calif., surrendered to begin his one-year jail term.
Beene, a goat trader, apologized for the crime and said he was embarrassed. He asked the judge to let him remain free so his goats can continue to have their blood tested by researchers as part of an experimental program on the AIDS virus.