Monmouth County Man Admits Falsely Labeling International Wildlife Shipments As ‘Toys’ | USAO-NJ
NEWARK, NJ – A man in Monmouth County, New Jersey today admitted to falsely labeling a package containing 10 live rhino iguanas destined for Hong Kong as “Toys”, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig.
Jason Ksepka, 44, of Farmingdale, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to U.S. District Judge Zahid Quraishi of Trenton Federal Court on one brief, accusing him of violating the Lacey Law by falsely labeling an international shipment of wild animals.
According to the documents filed in this case and the statements made in court:
On November 7, 2017, Ksepka shipped a package via US Priority Mail Express from the US Post Office in Lambertville, New Jersey. The package contained 10 live rhinoceros iguanas and was destined for Hong Kong. Defendant Ksepka falsely referred to the contents of the package as “toys” and the sender as “Luke Jacobs” on a US Postal Service international shipping label and customs form that accompanied the package. On November 8, 2017, United States Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors intercepted the package at the John F. Kennedy International Airport mail facility and recovered the rhino iguanas inside the package.
Ksepka was paid $ 500 by an individual to falsely label the package and ship it to Hong Kong. A year before the shipment, the same person paid Ksepka $ 500 to ship an additional 10 rhino iguanas to Hong Kong.
Ksepka agreed, as part of his plea deal, to pay a fine of $ 1,000 to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lacey Act Reward Fund.
The charge to which Ksepka has pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for January 25, 2022.
Acting US Attorney Honig credited US Fish and Wildlife Service Special Constables, Office of Law Enforcement, under the direction of Resident Officer in Charge Sean Mann, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea .
The government is represented by Assistant to the United States Attorney Kathleen P. O’Leary of the Government Fraud Unit of the Office of the United States Attorney in Newark.