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Beekeeper jailed on $50,000 cash for alleged bee scheme

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CANTON — A Waddington beekeeper is being accused of defrauding multiple people from New York to Vermont out of thousands of dollars after allegedly failing to provide them with beehives and nucleuses.

State police on Wednesday charged John P. Clarke, 36, of 477 County Route 31A, with felony first-degree scheme to defraud.

On June 14, troopers said, they received a report from Richard G. Schuler, 51, Kirkville, that he gave Mr. Clarke a $740 check on April 12 for the purchase of 12 bee nucleuses and that he never received them. Mr. Schuler said the check was cashed and he never received the nucleuses. On the same day, troopers said, Charles A. Magnant, of Vermont, filed a report that he had mailed Mr. Clarke a $1,200 check for 25 beehives and also never received them. That check also was cashed, troopers said.

On July 31, Kelly P. Mulverhill, 50, of 54 Lovers Lane Road, Malone, reported that he paid an unspecified amount of money for four bee nucleuses and received only two.

He said there are no queen bees or larvae in either of the nucleuses, rendering them useless, troopers said.

A fourth complainant, Raymond D. Gagner, also from Vermont, on Aug. 4 reported he ordered seven beehives in March for $350 and was told the bees would be ready by May.

Mr. Gagner said he never received the hives, the check was cashed and he was unable to reach Mr. Clarke.

All of the complainants said they came into contact with Mr. Clarke through a Craigslist ad.

Troopers said they picked Mr. Clarke up on a warrant issued out of Waddington Town Court. He was located in Plattsburgh.

He was arraigned in Waddington Town Court and was sent to St. Lawrence County jail on $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.

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