Son-of-Haggard Impersonator Sentenced to 3½ Years

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – A Seattle man who impersonated the son of country music legend Merle Haggard has been sentenced to 3½ years in federal prison for fraud and identity theft.

Mark Sams also was ordered to pay $61,000 in restitution.

Federal prosecutors say Sams impersonated Noel Haggard, chartered a private jet to Mexico and then charged the $61,000 bill to the credit card of an acquaintance in Whitefish.

Sams, now 50, was arrested in July 2007 in Ronan for impersonating Noel Haggard, signing autographs and charging people to take pictures with him. Sams denied charging people for pictures.

Last September Sams pleaded guilty in Missoula to federal charges of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The sentence was handed down Jan. 9 by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula.