Michigan Falconer Pleads Guilty to Violating Lacey Act
MADISON, WIS. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Edward Taylor, 64, Fruitport, Michigan, pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Madison to conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act. This charge carries maximum penalties of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
The information filed against Taylor alleges that in late 2016 through August 2017, Taylor and a Wisconsin falconer arranged to barter a northern goshawk taken from the wild in Vilas County, Wisconsin, in exchange for a captive-bred Finnish goshawk, and then cover up the receipt and transport of the northern goshawk from Wisconsin to Michigan in violation of the Migratory Bird Act and the Lacey Act.
According to the information, on May 26, 2018, Taylor’s conspirator took from the wild a female northern goshawk from a nest located on state land in Vilas County. The co-conspirator traded the northern goshawk for a Finnish goshawk from Taylor. The information alleged that both Taylor and his coconspirator filled out false reports with the Michigan and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources to cover up their actions. The information also alleged that the conspirator told his associates to “keep it hush-hush and not tell anybody” that the conspirator was giving the female goshawk nestling to Taylor.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker scheduled Taylor’s sentencing for February 25, 2020, at 3:00 p.m.
The charges against Taylor were the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Law Enforcement, and Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Graber.