Thursday, April 19, 2012

Small Businessman Pleads Guilty to False Statements; Government Ignores Allegations of Misrepresentations to Congress

Morris Khouli, a New York antiquities and coin dealer, has plead guilty to smuggling and false statements to federal law enforcement. See

Hopefully, the Court will not sentence Mr. Khouli to anywhere near the 20 year maximum for the offenses. Any such penalty would be very harsh for the conduct alleged in the indictment.

One must also question a system where a small businessman can potentially be sentenced to 20 years for falsifying import documents, but which ignores credible allegations that State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Employees misled Congress in an official report about CPAC's true recommendations concerning the controversial 2007 decision to impose import restrictions on coins.

And even worse, it is likely that some of the same employees who pressed for the prosecution of Mr. Khouli, also had something to do with any false declarations to Congress.


kyri said...

hi peter,"a small businessman" is the guy that owns the corner store selling items for a buck,not a guy dealing in millions of $ worth of antiquities.
hsi agents seized $3.5 million of stock and he posted a bond of $250,000,hardly a small businessman.
i agree that a prison sentence will do no good other than to make an example of him and cost the us taxpayer money.he is not a danger to the publc.a heavy fine and a susspended sentence hanging over his head for a long time should be the result but if he is caught smuggling again than prison would be what he deserves.
with this case and the recent mallter gallery case,all is not so rosy in the us antiquity garden ,cases like these harm the hobby,its about time we realised there is a problem and try to create a more ethical market before we lose the right to collect alltogether.the scary thing for me in this case,is that they are also going after the collector.

Cultural Property Observer said...

Hi Kyri- I agree with you that this does not speak well for the antiquities trade, but the punishment should fit the crime, and no one-- including the DOS should be above the law-- what punishment should they get? Certainly, none so far.

Also, I still think he fits the general description of a small business. Keep in mind he might not own the stock and that you normally only pay 10% to secure a $250,000 bond.