US & World

‘Tiger King’ Bust: Doc Antle Facing Federal Money Laundering Charges

Reality star, alleged co-conspirator face twenty years behind bars …

Chalk yet another one up for this new outlet’s amazing network of sources. On Friday afternoon, I exclusively reported that Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle – a.k.a. Doc Antle – had been arrested in Horry County, South Carolina by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“Sources familiar with the investigation told (me) Antle was facing multiple money laundering charges,” I noted at the time.

Well, according to a federal complaint unsealed in Florence, S.C. on Monday, Antle and an alleged accomplice – 52-year-old Andrew Jon Sawyer of Myrtle Beach, S.C. – were charged with money laundering crimes involving more than $500,000.

According to the complaint (.pdf), Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in cash through their businesses – including Myrtle Beach Safari – that “they believed to be the proceeds of an operation to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Mexican border into the United States.”

“Antle and Sawyer would launder the cash by providing checks from a business controlled by Antle and a business controlled by Sawyer,” a release from the office of interim U.S. attorney Corey Ellis noted. “Those checks falsely claimed they were remitted for construction work being performed at the Myrtle Beach Safari, when in reality the checks were simply a means to allow the recipients to appear to have legitimate income. In exchange, Antle and Sawyer received a 15 percent fee of any amount laundered.”


The release went on to accuse Antle of discussing plans to “conceal the cash he received by inflating tourist numbers at the Myrtle Beach Safari, and that in the past he had used bulk cash receipts to purchase animals for which he could not use checks.”

“We have not had an opportunity to review the evidence at this point so we have no comment,” said Ryan Beasley, one of Antle’s attorneys.

As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Antle and Sawyer are considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as they may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges filed against them.

Antle and Sawyer each face a maximum sentence of twenty years in federal prison.

The FBI investigated the case – which will be prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys Derek A. Shoemake and Amy Bower.

Antle, 62, appeared in the first season of the Netflix hit Tiger King in 2020 – playing a starring role in a show which scored a whopping 34.3 million viewers during its first ten days of release. The Salinas, California native was also the focus of a follow-up documentary entitled Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story – which aired last December.

Antle is already facing multiple charges in Virginia, where former attorney general Mark Herring indicted him on two felony counts tied to alleged wildlife trafficking and thirteen other charges. Antle’s daughters – Tawny Antle and Tilakum Watterson – were also charged by Herring’s office.

Antle is scheduled to stand trial in Virginia next month.

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DOCUMENTS …

(Via: U.S. Attorney)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Via: FITSNews)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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BANNER VIA: Netflix

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