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Here’s a feel-good story about a bottom-feeding angler who received his due in court this week.

On Monday, one of two men who admitted to planting fish during Kentucky fishing tournaments received a probated 5-year sentence providing he pays $23,000 in restitution.

The Paducah Sun reports that Brian Thomas of Dawson Springs was sentenced to one year each for theft by deception over $300 and theft by deception under $300. As part of his sentence, Thomas was also banned from holding a fishing license or participating in fishing events during his probation.

Kentucky State Police began investigating Thomas and his fishing partner, Dwayne Nesmith, in April 2006, after witnesses said they saw the pair take five bass from a submerged fish basket and subsequently weigh them at the Relay for Life Buddy Bass Tournament on Kentucky’s Lake Barkley.

A month earlier, in March 2006, the fraudulent fishermen won a $30,000 bass boat in the Lake Barkley Superbass Championship, allegedly using the same deceptive practice.

Nesmith pleaded guilty to identical charges in his Monday court appearance. He is scheduled for sentencing June 4.

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