It turns out, Mongolia was right.
Back in May, we told you about a lawyer who, on behalf of the president of Mongolia, was involved in his own crusade to stop the auction of precious Tyrannosaurus bones. Lawyer Robert Painter and President Elbegdorj Tsakhia argued that a Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton had been smuggled out of Mongolia to be sold in America.
Eventually, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the S.D.N.Y got involved, on the side of Mongolia. It turns out that this Mongolian dinosaur was just the tip of one man’s international smuggling operation.
That man pleaded guilty yesterday….
Here’s a little rule you can use: don’t trust anybody or anything whose title is a business term followed by an academic term. “For Profit” School? No thanks. “Professional” Lecturer? I’ll pass.
Here, Bharara arrested “Commercial” Paleontologist, Eric Prokopi. On Thursday, Prokopi pleaded guilty. From the WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.):
On Thursday, Eric Prokopi, a Florida commercial paleontologist, admitted in Manhattan federal court that he made “vague and misleading” statements on customs forms and caused others to do the same “so it didn’t draw attention to the shipment” when he imported dinosaur fossils between 2010 and 2012.
He pleaded guilty to three charges, including interstate transportation of stolen property.
This is why the world needs lawyers. Without lawyers, everything would devolve to the survival of the most ruthless in the state of nature created by free markets.
We don’t need Indiana Jones to track down and stop the Eric Prokopis of the world. That’s what we pay Preet Bharara to do.
U.S. Gets Paleontologist, Dinosaur Bones In Prehistoric Plea [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]