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The E-Sylum:  Volume 4, Number 13, March 25, 2001, Article 12

ANTIQUE DEALERS INDICTED FOR FRAUD 

   While it's on a non-numismatic subject, the acts two prominent 
   antique dealers are accused of could easily happen in our 
   hobby.  ABC News reported on March 16: 

   "A pair of antiques dealers looking to gain a bit of exposure 
   by going on a public television program got more than they 
   bargained for. 

   The pair were indicted Thursday on federal mail and wire fraud 
   charges, accused of staging phony appraisals on the program 
   Antiques Roadshow to enhance their reputations as experts in 
   Civil War-era weapons and military artifacts. 

   Russ Pritchard III, 37, and George Juno, 40, allegedly cashed 
   in on the reputation they developed on the program to make 
   hundreds of thousands of dollars by defrauding the descendants 
   of Civil War veterans to acquire artifacts at a fraction of their 
   value. 

   If convicted, Pritchard, 37, could face up to 60 years in prison 
   and $2.75 million in fines.  Juno could face as much as 45 years 
   in prison and fines of $2.25 million if found guilty. 

   "Mr. Pritchard maintains his innocence of these charges and we 
   will vigorously defend them," Pritchard's attorney, Kirk 
   Karaszkiewicz, told The Associated Press. 

   Among those allegedly victimized by the two men and their 
   company, American Ordnance Preservation Association, were 
   the descendants of Gen. George Pickett,  who led "Picket's 
   Charge" at the Battle of  Gettysburg, and a Union officer named 
   Maj. Samuel Wilson. 

   According to the indictment, Pritchard convinced Pickett's 
   descendants to sell off family memorabilia for approximately 
   $88,000, claiming to be representing the Harrisburg National 
   Civil War Museum. 

   However, Pritchard did not have any relationship with the 
   museum, and according to the indictment, he turned around 
   and sold Pickett letters, photographs and artifacts to the 
   museum for $880,000." 

   For the full text of the story, see 
   http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/antique_fraud010316.html 

   Another version of the story is found at the Charlotte Observer: 
   http://www.charlotte.com/observer/natwor/docs/antiques0317.htm 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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