After ordeal, collector cleared in smuggling case

18 Feb 2014 10:50 AM | Anonymous

After ordeal, collector cleared in smuggling case

Richmond Times-Dispatch | Posted: Monday, February 17, 2014 12:00 am

Joseph A. “Joe” Lewis II heard his housekeeper scream and looked outside to see his yard swarming with federal agents.

He had no idea on that summer day in 2011 that he was about to become ensnared in what authorities would describe as a groundbreaking case of cultural artifact smuggling.

The successful Chesterfield County businessman, who developed a nationally recognized cosmetic skin-care brand and is a major collector of Egyptian antiquities, soon found himself facing smuggling conspiracy and money laundering charges as part of what the government termed the “first ever” dismantling of a cultural property smuggling network in the U.S.

Three other people were charged, including a New York antiquities dealer from whom Lewis had purchased several artifacts. It was that relationship that spelled trouble for Lewis

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