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
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
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."
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