Tiger King star Doc Antle charged with money laundering related to smuggling immigrants across the Mexican border | Ents & Arts News

Tiger King star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle has been accused of laundering more than half a million dollars believed to be the proceeds of an operation to smuggle immigrants across the Mexican border into the United States.

The charges were revealed during a hearing in federal court in Florence, South Carolina, on Monday.

Federal prosecutors claim Antle and one of his Myrtle Beach Safari employees, Jon Sawyer, laundered $505,000 (£402,990) over a four-month period by handing out checks to businesses they controlled.

The pair reportedly received a 15% fee for the money that passed through their hands.

The checks falsely claimed to be payment for construction work at Myrtle Beach Safari, prosecutors said, but were actually intended to serve as proof that the recipients had legitimate income.

Antle planned to hide the money he received by inflating the number of tourists to his 50-acre tropical wildlife preserve, according to the complaint disclosed in court.

He had previously used bulk cash receipts to purchase animals for which he could not use checks, prosecutors said.

Authorities say Antle and Sawyer both face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison if convicted.

Antle stars in Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness – a 2020 Netflix documentary miniseries featuring tiger breeders and private zoo operators in the United States.

Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Exotic was the focal point of the series and was also targeted for animal abuse, as well as being convicted of a conspiracy to kill a rival, Carole Baskin.

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The Tiger King series followed the turbulent professional life of Joe Exotic

Animal rights activists have also accused Antle of abusing lions and other wildlife, and he was charged in Virginia in 2020 with animal cruelty and wildlife trafficking.

Separately, Antle faces two counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to traffic wildlife, as well as 13 counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act. disappearance and animal cruelty charges related to lion cub trafficking.

Those charges are expected to go to trial in Virginia in July.

The 62-year-old has a history of convictions dating back to 1989, when he was fined for abandoning deer and peacocks at his Virginia zoo by the US Department of Agriculture.

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