Ginseng thief convicted, must pay nearly $4,000

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- An Independence man has pleaded no contest to illegally harvesting ginseng.

Trempealeau County prosecutors charged 43-year-old Timothy Kampa in February with 32 counts ranging from harvesting the plant out-of-season to failing to get permission to harvest on private land. He pleaded no contest to eight counts on April 25.

Judge John Damon ordered Kampa to pay $2,748 in fines and $1,000 in restitution to landowners who lost their ginseng to him. He also must forfeit the 14 pounds or so of dry ginseng DNR wardens seized from him. The DNR estimates the ginseng is worth about $10,000.

Kampa's attorney, Thomas Bilski, says Kampa has been gathering ginseng all his life. He says Kampa pays little attention to boundaries but the DNR is making him out to be Al Capone.


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