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FRESNO, Calif. August 15, 2016 – Jonathan Cornelius Bourne, 59, of Mammoth Lakes, pleaded guilty today to unauthorized transportation of archeological resources and unauthorized excavation, removal, damage, or defacement of archeological resources, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
On September 17, 2015, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Bourne, charging him with violations of the Archeological Resources Protection Act. Bourne had been collecting artifacts and archeological resources since 1994. He documented each item and has voluntarily turned over to the government an estimated 20,000 archeological items that he had collected from public lands. Bourne has agreed to pay $249,372 in restitution to the United States.
According to the plea agreement, on October 14, 2010, Bourne altered a small prehistoric site, cremation site, and burial cairns in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada. He removed glass trade beads and transported them to his home in Mammoth. On January 10, 2011, Bourne altered a large prehistoric site in Death Valley National Park and removed a tool made from a bighorn sheep horn and three incised stone tablets, which were found in Bourne’s home.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. Assistant United States Attorney Laurel J. Montoya is prosecuting the case.
Bourne is scheduled to be sentenced on November 7, 2016, by U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill. Bourne faces a maximum statutory penalty of two years in prison and a $20,000 fine for each count. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.