Nevada woman pleads not guilty in Lake Tahoe tree cutting
RENO, Nev. (AP) ” An Incline Village woman has pleaded not guilty to federal charges for allegedly hiring a company to cut down three old-growth trees to improve her view of Lake Tahoe.
Patricia Vincent, 58, was indicted in January by a federal grand jury in Reno on charges of theft of government property and willingly damaging government property. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.
Vincent entered her pleas during a brief hearing Monday before U.S. Magistrate Valerie Cook, who set trial for April 29.
The three ponderosa pines stood on a plot the U.S. Forest Service had designated as environmentally sensitive as part of a water quality plan to help protect the clarity of Lake Tahoe, authorities said.
The trees were estimated at 80 to 100 years old; trees that age would be at least 2 feet in diameter at the base of the trunk.