Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dinosaur Forfeiture Case Rescheduled as Court Waits for Claimant's Verified Claim

HSI seizes the dinosaur bones.
Today's court conference in the matter of United States of America v. One Tyrannosaurus Bataar Skeleton (2012-cv-04760) was rescheduled to September 5 after federal prosecutors issued a gentle reminder that the government remained the sole party in the case.  In a letter submitted to the southern district court of New York, prosecutors wrote:

"This is a forfeiture matter and at the present time the only party to the action is the Government. In order for an individual or entity to become a party to the action, they are required to file a Verified Claim.  As of the date [of] this letter there have been no Verified Claims filed with the Court and the time period for filing has not yet expired. The time period to file a Verified Claim expires on August 26, 2012."

Ancient coin dealer advocates and attorneys Michael McCullough and Peter Tompa filed court appearances in June announcing their representation of Eric Prokopi, the purported claimant seeking the dinosaur bones' return.   They are expected to file a Verified Claim arguing why the dinosaur bones should be awarded to Prokopi.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a forfeiture complaint this spring alleging that the dinosaur skeleton was illegally imported into this country in March 2012.  Federal prosecutors seek to repatriate the bones to Mongolia, the country of origin.

More details regarding this seizure and forfeiture case may be found here.