A judge has set a bond for “Tiger King” star Doc Antle on money laundering charges that add up to half a million dollars.
On Monday, a federal judge in Florence, South Carolina, set a $250,000 bond for Antle. His real name is Bhagavan Antle. As of Monday evening, Antle is still behind bars. According to federal prosecutors, processing his release will take at least a day. Following his discharge, Antle cannot leave his 50-acre wildlife tropical preserve outside Myrtle Beach.
Previously, prosecutors argued in court motions that Doc Antle should remain in jail before his court date. They argued that the TV personality is a flight risk. In addition, they mentioned his “significant financial resources” and “contacts that know how to make false identification documents.”
However, Antle’s attorneys fought for the controversial Netflix star’s release. They said Antle has no prior convictions. In addition, they argued that the 62-year-old suffers from several health conditions that should keep him out of jail.
Prosecutors revealed the charges against Antle and Andrew Jon Sawyer, one of Antle’s employees, during a federal court hearing in June.
According to prosecutors, Antle and Sawyer worked together to launder $505,000 over four months. Together, they doled out checks from businesses they managed, receiving a 15% fee for the money passed through them.
Per the prosecutor’s findings, the checks acted as false payments for construction work at Antle’s Safari. Antle sued the checks to prove that the recipients had legitimate revenue.
Per the federal complaint, Antle planned to hide the cash he received by misconstruing visitor numbers at his safari. In addition, prosecutors also said he had used bulk cash receipts to buy animals as he could not use checks.
Doc Antle faces serious jail time if convicted
If convicted of the above crimes, Antle and Sawyer could face a maximum of 20 years in prison. However, according to court records, authorities released Sawyer on a $100,000 bond earlier in June.
Fans will recognize Antle from the wildly popular Netflix docuseries, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” The 2020 series focused on tiger breeders and private zoo operators nationwide.
The series also followed controversial zoo operator Joe Exotic, who also was called out for animal mistreatment. He was also convicted of plotting to kill Carole Baskin, his archnemesis in the zoo world.
Animal rights advocates and organizations, such as PETA, accused Antle of mistreating his wildlife, such as lions and tigers. As a result, he now faces numerous charges in Virginia. The charges include animal cruelty, wildlife trafficking, and 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act.
Federal prosecutors also said Antle was on bond for those state charges when he committed his alleged crimes.