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The following schedule is subject to change (as of October 11, 2016). Please check back for updates. For more information about this meeting, go to: www.seafwa.org/conferences/2016
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Tuesday, October 18 • 1:35pm - 2:05pm
Law Enforcement. Posses, Sell, Ship Prohibited Species

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AUTHORS: Investigator Steve Wayne, Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, Division of Law Enforcement

ABSTRACT: The market for fish and wildlife has increased thru the ease and availability of internet sales and the convenience of shipping wildlife through commercial shipping companies. The pet trade has followed this trend from traditional retail store sales to internet sales. A Central Florida dealer in reptiles and amphibians used deceptive methods to possess, sell and ship prohibited species of reptiles through intra- and interstate commerce to locations all over the world. A team of local, state and federal partners focused on a long term criminal investigation of the dealer resulting in a complex array of state and federal wildlife and fraud violations.

In early 2013, FWC Investigator Steve Wayne intercepted a shipment of four alligators from an unlicensed reptile dealer in Central Florida. His investigative experience told him that there was potential for a larger scale criminal operation than was immediately obvious. Over the course of Wayne’s investigation, which spanned a large geographic area, multiple aliases, business names and fictitious shipping addresses, he was able to track and inspect, with the assistance of multiple partners, more than 50 shipments of illegal species of wildlife and hundreds of legal species.

Using multiple investigative methods with a wide range of partners, it was learned that the reptile dealer was also committing fraud by setting up and using multiple fraudulent shipping business accounts, pocketing shipping fees that were being paid to him by unsuspecting customers.
More than 200 state wildlife violations were cited, as well as federal felony violations for Lacey Act (False Labelling), Lacey Act (Wildlife Trafficking), Bank Fraud, Mail Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Conspiracy. Investigator Wayne’s tenacity, perseverance and his ability to create and sustain inter-agency partnerships and communications resulted in this successful case.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 1:35pm - 2:05pm
Victory Room

Attendees (4)