LawFuel.com- US Law News – Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ERIC PROKOPI pled guilty today to engaging in a scheme to illegally import the fossilized remains of numerous dinosaurs that had been taken out of their native countries illegally and smuggled into the United States. As part of his plea agreement, PROKOPI agreed to consent to the forfeiture of a nearly complete Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton (the “First Bataar”), which was looted from Mongolia and sold at auction in Manhattan for over $1 million. The First Bataar was the subject of a separate civil forfeiture action pending before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel. PROKOPI also agreed to forfeit a second nearly complete Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton, a Saurolophus skeleton, and an Oviraptor skeleton, all of which had been in his possession and were recently recovered by the government.
In addition, PROKOPI will forfeit his interest in a third Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton believed to be located in Great Britain. All of the fossils are of Mongolian origin. The skeleton of a Chinese flying dinosaur that PROKOPI illegally imported has already been administratively forfeited. PROKOPI pled guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis.