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Wisconsin Anglers Convicted of Cheating in Fishing Tournament

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State appeals court upholds fishing guide Michael Cefalu's felony fraud conviction. 

A judge has properly convicted a fishing guide for helping his client cheat in a Wisconsin salmon fishing tournament, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday. Guide Michael Cefalu took Orylynn Helt fishing during the Kewaunee/Door Salmon Tournament back in 2013. They were fishing for a prize of $10,000 cash and nearly $1,500 in various merchandise. 

The client, Helt, weighed in a 30.27-pound Chinook salmon at the tournament scales. The tournament director scanned the fish with a metal detector, which alerted him to the presence of metal inside of the salmon. Cefalu, the guide, was instructed to cut the fish open but he became evasive and told the tournament director he planned on mounting the fish. Eventually, he obliged and a 1-pound weight was found in the salmon's throat. 

Cefalu's excuse wasn't believable to anyone: The 30-year captain claimed the fish must have sucked the weight off the bottom of Lake Michigan.

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Orylynn Helt was charged with misdemeanor attempted theft by fraud and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. Cefalu was ultimately charged with felony attempted theft by fraud, of property worth between $5,000 and $10,000. He was also ordered to pay a $2,500 fine.