- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A Los Angeles art dealer who used looted Thai antiquities in a tax fraud scheme has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.

Seventy-year-old Jonathan Markell was sentenced Monday for conspiracy to smuggle antiques and commit tax fraud. His wife got probation for conspiracy to commit tax fraud.

Markell owned the now-defunct Silk Roads Design Gallery. He acknowledged making false declarations to customs authorities so antiquities - many looted from a World Heritage site in Thailand - could enter the U.S.

Markell packaged and appraised the art at inflated values so his clients could donate the works to museums and universities and claim inflated tax deductions.

He and his wife must pay restitution to the IRS and repatriate 337 antiquities found at their home and gallery.



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