Published: April 29, 2008
On April 24, Charles A. Manghis, a Nantucket scrimshaw artist and dealer, was charged in US District Court, along with a Ukrainian citizen, with smuggling, making false statements and conspiracy involving the importation of sperm whale teeth and elephant ivory into the United States in violation of an international treaty and a federal law that protects endangered species.
Following his arrest by federal agents at his home in Nantucket, Manghis, 53, appeared before US Magistrate Judge Timothy S. Hillman in Boston on charges of multiple counts of smuggling whale teeth and elephant ivory, making false statements to federal agents and conspiracy. He was released on a $25,000 secured bond following his arraignment.
Indicted along with Manghis was Andriy Mikhalyov of Odessa, Ukraine. The charges against Mikhalyov were conspiring with Manghis and others to import sperm whale ivory from Ukraine through California to Massachusetts.
Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, said Mikhalyov remains in Ukraine. She did not provide any further details.
The indictment against the two men alleges that between 2002 to 2005, they conspired to smuggle the prohibited items into the United States in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and of federal law. The indictment also said that the pair used an unidentified middleman in California to bring in the items.
Manghis faces up to 25 years imprisonment if convicted on the 11 charges contained in the indictment, and sentencing guidelines call for fines up to $250,000, according to federal prosecutors. Mikhalyov faces up to five years imprisonment and the same maximum fine.
Nina Hellman, a Nantucket marine and nautical antiques dealer who has offered Manghis’s scrimshaw items for “a long time,” said that she would not comment beyond what she had previously said to the media. She was quoted in the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror as saying that she did not believe the charges against Manghis were true. “I believe that Mr Manghis cannot be a part of this, and that he has legally bought any ivory he has,” Hellman told the Inquirer and Mirror. “I know he’s very careful about where he buys his material.”
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