‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle accused of laundering over $500K
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF/Gray News) – The owner of Myrtle Beach Safari, who is best known nationally for his appearances on the Netflix documentary “Tiger King,” faces federal money laundering charges.
A federal criminal complaint about 62-year-old Bhagavan “Doc” Antle was unsealed on Monday, WMBF reported.
Antle was booked into the J. Reuben Long Detention Center on Friday.
According to the complaint, he is charged with laundering of monetary instruments and money laundering conspiracy.
An employee and business associate of Antle, 52-year-old Andrew Sawyer, is also charged in the case.
The complaint alleges that over the last four months, Antle and Sawyer laundered $505,000 in cash they believed were the proceeds of an operation to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Mexican border into the United States.
Antle and Sawyer would launder the cash by providing checks from businesses that were controlled by the two, according to the criminal complaint.
The documents report those checks falsely claimed they were used for construction work being done at the Myrtle Beach Safari. Instead, they were a means to give the recipients the appearance of having a legitimate income.
In exchange, Antle and Sawyer received a 15% fee of any amount laundered, according to the criminal complaint.
Court documents show that Antle’s plan to conceal the cash was to inflate tourist numbers at the Myrtle Beach Safari. He also discussed that in the past he used bulk cash receipts to purchase animals for which he could not use checks, according to the criminal complaint.
Antle and Sawyer each face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison on the charges if they are convicted.
Antle has a preliminary hearing and bond hearing set for Thursday.
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