Man admits to stealing $1 million dinosaur

Dinosaur illustration 
By: Sanvi Rizvi 

A U.S. man pleaded guilty to stealing and then selling a $1 million dinosaur, according to court proceedings.

The man of Florida, pleaded guilty in New York, of smuggling the dinosaur fossils into the United States, and admitted that he had lied to U.S. customs authorities.

Eric Prokopi entered his plea on Thursday, in federal court in Manhattan. The settlement requires the 38-year-old dealer to relinquish his claims to the 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus skeleton belonging to the Bataar government seized earlier this year.

He must also give up two other claims of Tyrannosaurus skeletons, three dinosaur skeletons and various dinosaurs unassembled parts.

In exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors said that they will recommend leniency. The charges carry a potential penalty of up to 17 years in prison.

Prokopi pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraudulent transfer of dinosaur bones and making false statements to the customs authorities.

He lives in Gainesville, Florida.