Utah Residents Accused of Conspiring Against the United States and Stealing Dinosaur Fossils

Four individuals in Utah have been indicted on charges of conspiring against the United States. They are accused of stealing dinosaur bones and other fossils worth over $1 million from federal and state lands in southeastern Utah. This act is in violation of the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (PRPA).

The indicted individuals are Vint Wade, 65, and Donna Wade, 67, from Moab, Steven Willing, 67, from Los Angeles, California, and Jordan Willing, 40, from Ashland, Oregon.

They are alleged to have caused damages amounting to $3 million by stealing these invaluable paleontological resources from federal land.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah has provided detailed information about the alleged criminal activities of the defendants. According to the statement released, the defendants purchased, transported, and exported dinosaur bones from federal land between March 2018 and March 2023. They are also accused of knowingly concealing and retaining stolen property of the United States.

The Wades allegedly purchased paleontological resources that were taken from federal land by paying cash and checks to known and unknown individuals. These individuals removed the dinosaur bones for the Wades’ personal use. The Wades then stockpiled these resources to sell at gem and mineral shows and sold some to Steven and Jordan Willing.

Steven and Jordan Willing, through their company JMW Sales, are accused of exporting the dinosaur bones to China. They allegedly mislabeled the bones and deflated their value to avoid detection by federal agents. This scheme not only breaks the law but also threatens the preservation of our nation’s rich paleontological heritage.

Aside from selling over $1 million worth of fossils, the defendants are accused of causing over $3 million in damages. This includes the commercial value of the resources, the scientific value of the resources, and the cost of restoration and repair. The loss is not just financial, but also affects our culture and scientific understanding, as these stolen dinosaur bones held immense scientific value.

U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins expressed concern about the situation, stating that by removing and processing these dinosaur bones for profit, their scientific value has been lost. This deprives future generations of the opportunity to experience the science and wonder of these bones on Federal land. The United States Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners are committed to protecting paleontological resources throughout Utah.

The defendants are scheduled for their first court appearance on October 19. This case highlights the importance of preserving our nation’s paleontological resources and the serious consequences that await those who exploit them for personal gain.

This article appeared in Our Patriot and has been published here with permission.

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Written by Western Reader

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