Paleontologist gets three months in prison for dinosaur bone smuggling

05 Jun 2014 7:54 AM | Anonymous

Paleontologist gets three months in prison for dinosaur bone smuggling

NEW YORK Tue Jun 3, 2014 3:57pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A paleontologist who prosecutors called a "a one-man black market in prehistoric fossils" was sentenced on Tuesday to three months in prison after he admitted to having schemed to smuggle dinosaur remains out of Mongolia.

Eric Prokopi, 39, pleaded guilty to three felony counts in December 2012. The case stemmed from U.S. efforts to seize and return to Mongolia a Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton that was auctioned in New York the previous May for $1.05 million.

"What I did was wrong, and I failed to appreciate the gravity of what I have done," Prokopi told U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan at a court hearing.

Georges Lederman, Prokopi's lawyer, had sought a non-prison sentence, reflecting the Virginia resident's help in recovering what a prosecutor said was at least 17 other dinosaur fossils.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/03/us-usa-crime-dinosaur-idUSKBN0EE27420140603

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