Feds: Ohio man pleads guilty to purchasing tiger skin rug

August 12, 2020 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man who bought a tiger skin rug in violation of the federal endangered species act pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge, the government said.

Ryan Gibbs of Cincinnati must serve a year on probation, perform 80 hours of community service, and donate $100,000 to a federal fund used to provide rewards for tipsters in illegal wildlife trade cases, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Gibbs also agreed to give up a stuffed lion, two stuffed puffins, a panther skin and a sawfish rostrum — the bill or beak of the sawfish — which he owns, according to the government.

Gibbs, 44, a Cincinnati attorney, tried buying a tiger skin from someone in the United Kingdom in 2018, but was told it was illegal, prosecutors said. That person put him in touch with a seller in Minnesota, who turned out to be an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent.

Gibbs bought the rug for $3,000 in 2019. The rug had been confiscated from a previous investigation.

Defense attorney Scott Croswell said Gibbs did not dispute the charge.