Friday, June 15, 2007

Bowhunting Author, Guide Indicted

A friend just emailed me the following article from The Outdoor Wire. I am shocked to learn about the accusations made against one of my favorite outdoor writers. First Jim Zumbo and now Dave Holt, it looks like this is turning out to become the year of outdoor writer scandales.

Here is the full article.

Bowhunting Author, Guide Indicted
The Outdoor Wire, June 14, 2007

He's best known in outdoor circles as a bowhunting expert, author and African guide, but David F. Holt, 60, is facing serious charges in conjunction with his long-past career as a Denver police officer.

Holt of Lakewood, Colorado, has been indicted on nine counts of forgery, two counts of theft and one count of making false statements in an indictment that charges he lied about his disability for 18 year, convincing doctors he suffered from serious psychological and physical problems. All the while Holt was bow hunting, leading guided trips to Africa and leading what prosecutors say was a normal life - subsidized by disability payments from the Denver Police Department.

Holt's attorney denies the charges, saying Holt "never intended to defraud anybody or any entity," further, Rick Kornfeld says, "We have 20 years of medical records that support the fact he was- and still is- disabled."

Holt, in Africa on a pre-scheduled trip, has made no statements at this point.

In 1968 Holt began a career as a Denver police officer. In 1986, he was supposedly injured while running a Denver Police Department obstacle course. Initial tests proved negative, but later tests say Holt may, in fact, have been suffering from a ruptured blood vessel just outside his brain. He also told doctors he was suffering severe psychological problems, including paranoia, short-term memory loss and an inability to control his emotions, the indictment states.

His girlfriend at the time said Holt walked with a shuffling gait, but the injury "resolved a couple of weeks after the accident, except when he went to a doctor," according to the indictment.

Holt was awarded temporary disability in 1986 and it was changed to full disability a year later.

In the meantime, investigators say, Holt was working on his first book, Balanced Bowhunting. In the following years, Holt traveled extensively, promoted the book, took hunting trips, wrote for magazines and appeared in promotional videos. In 1999, he formed "Dave Holt's Africa" to take bowhunters on overseas trips. He also published Balanced Bow-Hunting II in 2004 and was featured on the cover of a 2005 DVD "Africa With Stick and String."

In 2004, Denver hired private investigators to conduct surveillance on Holt. He was also required to attend an exam with a psychologist. In an exam the psychologist diagnosed Holt as "malingering" in essence, faking his illness, or as the indictment reads:

"According to Dr. Klein, Holt presented himself extremely depressed and downtrodden, and spoke in a soft voice. He sat far away in a corner, and presented himself as childlike and fearful. Holt claimed that he could not complete the patient form and that he was unable to read and write without a lot of help. Holt told Dr. Klein in the interview that his days consisted of watching TV, and reading and writing with a lot of assistance. He told Klein that he 'plays' with his bows and arrows and does target shooting outside. All of this seemed improbable to Klein, so she did some further investigation."

Denver moved to revoke his disability status and late last year his case was taken to a grand jury.

Now, Holt finds himself the poster-boy for abuse of workers compensation claims - and directly in the crosshairs of prosecutors.

Although Holt remains in Africa, his bond in Colorado has been set at one million dollars. His attorney says he doesn't know when Holt is scheduled to return.

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