DEC timber theft investigation leads to multiple felony charges

An investigation into numerous timber theft claims in Schoharie and Delaware counties has resulted in multiple felony charges against a Schoharie County man, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Gene Kelly announced. Burton L. Maxim, 40, of North Blenheim, allegedly was involved with a series of timber thefts, beginning in 2004. He has been charged with:
Grand larceny 3rd degree (Class D felony) – for the alleged theft of $18,000 worth of timber in the Town of Gilboa (Schoharie County) in the winter/spring of 2006 from private property;
Criminal possession of stolen property 3rd degree (Class D felony) – for the alleged possession of a stolen $37,500 log skidder which was stolen from the Melz Lumber yard in the city of Hudson (Columbia County) in the fall of 2005 and Scheme to defraud 1st degree (Class E felony) – for an alleged systematic and ongoing course of conduct between 2004-2007 in which seven different landowners in Schoharie and Delaware counties allege timber was stolen by Maxim, or payment for timber harvested by Maxim was inadequate. The exact value of the timber theft is unknown because not all victims have had timber surveys completed. However, the value of the stolen timber is estimated to be in the thousands of dollars.
Maxim was arraigned in Town of Gilboa Court on August 14 before Justice John V. Sanzari. Maxim was released on his own recognizance.
The charges stem from a two-year investigation conducted by DEC Investigator Michael Dangler. DEC often investigates timber theft cases because of their complex nature and the specialized expertise that exists within DEC to conduct these often long-term investigations.
Individuals who believe they may have further information or similar claims are encouraged to contact the DEC Region 4 Law Enforcement office in Schenectady at 518 357-2047.