Thomas Banks Arrested


Published: August - 1999

If you are among the 40 or so clients booked into Liberia next year, you should be aware that the agent/outfitter of those safaris has run into serious legal trouble. Seems Thomas Banks of West African Safaris has been arrested by the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department in California in connection with those safaris he booked into Burkina Faso earlier this year. We mentioned Banks' involvement in Burkina Faso in the June issue (see pages 2-3), and we indicated that legal trouble might result from his failure to provide services he promised there and from certain payment promises he made by wire. Well, it has. Here is how a 7/22/99 Sheriff's Department Press Release describes what happened: "The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department has concluded an investigation into allegations of grand theft and forgery on Oakdale resident Thomas Jeffrey Banks, 49, of West African Safaris, which has resulted in his arrest.

Banks was arrested at 11:30 today when he came to the Sheriff's Office to discuss the case. He was booked into the Public Safety Center with $1,000 bail for 532A PC - false or fraudulent representation and 470 PC - forgery." Reached at press time, Banks said he was innocent of all charges and would be able to prove it. "Clients booked into Liberia have nothing to worry about. Those safaris will go forward," he said, indicating that local press reports on his being "charged with felonies" were irresponsible, wrong and actionable. Indeed, at press time, Banks had not been arraigned or formally charged with anything. His claim that some or all charges would eventually be dropped may turn out to be true.

Here at The Hunting Report, we are not about to try and predict where this matter will lead. We will keep you posted, however, not just in these pages next month, but also on our website if something important happens before our next deadline. In the meantime, it is worth noting that Banks, whatever mistakes he might have made, managed to field some successful safaris to Liberia last year. Stay tuned.

........(continued)

 
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