Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, star of the television series “Tiger King” and Andrew Jon Sawyer, one of Antle’s employees at the Myrtle Beach Safari, were arrested on Friday in a money laundering case involving more than one half a million dollars. They are said to face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison if convicted.
Federal officers said Antle believed the money was part of the proceeds of an operation that smuggled people across the Mexican border into the United States.
The charges against Antle came to light Monday in federal court proceedings in Florence, South Carolina, which said Antle and Sawyer laundered approximately $505,000 over a four-month period by awarding checks to the companies they controlled. Previously, they received a 15% fee for the money they cleared.
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Apparently the checks were supposed to pay for construction work on the Antle Beach Safari, but were actually made up as proof to produce legitimate income for the recipients. The lawsuit said Antle discussed his plan to hide the money he got from inflating tourist numbers at his 50-acre (20-hectare) tropical wildlife preserve, the lawsuit heard in court on Monday. Prosecutors also claimed he had previously used bulk cash receipts to purchase animals without using checks.
Antle, who is an animal trainer, featured in Netflix’s 2020 docu-series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”
In May, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked the IRS to investigate Antle’s Rare Species Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for wildlife conservation. He has also been accused by PETA of using the funds to subsidize his safari site in Socastee, outside of Myrtle Beach.
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Meanwhile, Antle has also been accused of mishandling lions and other wildlife by animal rights activists, and in 2020 he was indicted in Virginia on animal cruelty and cash trafficking charges. wild. Trials on these charges will begin in July.
Antle has a history of breaking the law dating back to 1989, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture penalized him for abandoning deer and peacocks at his Virginia zoo. He has been named in over 35 USDA animal abuse violations to date.
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Post expires at 6:26am on Friday June 17th, 2022