Friday, December 28, 2012

Guilty Plea in Dinosaur Smuggling Case

Eric Prokopi pleaded guilty on Thursday in a case involving the smuggling of dinosaur fossils.  In a press release, Preet Bharara, the U.S. States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced:

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
PROKOPI, 38, pled guilty today to an Information charging him with one count of conspiracy with respect to the Chinese flying dinosaur, one count of entry of goods by means of false statements with respect to the Mongolian dinosaurs, and one count of interstate and foreign transportation of goods converted and taken by fraud. ... In addition, PROKOPI has agreed to forfeit the proceeds of his offense, including but not limited to, the First Bataar, the Second Bataar, any and all interest in the Tyrannosaurus skeleton believed to be in Great Britain, the Saurolophus and Oviraptor skeletons that had been in PROKOPI’S custody, and any and all other fossil parts of Mongolian origin that PROKOPI brought into the country between 2010 and 2012."

Federal authorities arrested Prokopi after the government's initial forfeiture case intensified in October.  Readers will recall that federal prosecutors first filed a forfeiture complaint in June seeking the return of Tyrannosaurus Bataar bones that were auctioned for sale.  Yesterday's resolution in the criminal case also resolves the civil forfeiture case.


This post is researched, written, and published on the blog Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire at culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Text copyrighted 2012 by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission of this post is prohibited. CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com