On Monday, the U.S. Justice Department stated that the owner of a prominent exotic wildlife preserve, who rose to fame thanks to the show on Netflix called Tiger King,” had pled guilty to money laundering and animal trafficking.
Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said that the defendant, who presented himself as a conservationist, had broken laws meant to protect endangered animals and had tried to cover up his crimes.
A Justice Department press release claims that under Doc Antle’s watch, endangered species, including lion cubs, tigers, cheetah cubs, and a young chimpanzee, were sold or purchased. The 63-year-old man featured prominently in a documentary miniseries on the tiger trade was accused by authorities of trying to hide animal payments by designating them as “donations” to his charity organization.
Antle may spend up to 5 years in jail, serve three years of supervised release, and pay a quarter million dollar fine if found guilty on all counts. He started the South Carolina-based Rare Species Fund and managed the Myrtle Beach Safari there.
Evidence uncovered by investigators points to Antle and a coconspirator using funds gained from the unlawful transportation and harboring of immigrants.
In June, Antle was cleared of animal cruelty charges by a jury. The judge dismissed four additional animal cruelty counts against Antle and dropped all charges regarding his two daughters.
This is the most recent repercussion for the Tiger King series. Joe Exotic, the show’s star, is currently incarcerated on a twenty-one-year sentence for attempting to hire two individuals to kill animal welfare activist Carol Baskin. The central plot point was Joe Exotic (Joseph Maldonado-Passage) and Baskin’s long-running hostility.
As a result of beginning treatment for early-stage cancer, Maldonado-Passage’s penalty was lowered by a year last year.