A renowned golf course architect is facing a lengthy prison sentence for his activities involving a now defunct store.
Keith Foster, 60, plead guilty in an Alexandria, Va., courtroom Wednesday to illegally transporting between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of items made from endangered species, migratory birds and other wildlife.
The golf course architect violated portions of the Lacey Act (a U.S. conservation law that bans trafficking in illegal wildlife or plants) when he and wife, Pam, owned the Outpost – an antique shop in Middleburg, Va.
He faces a maximum prison sentence of five years after his guilty plea. It is unclear if Pam Foster is also facing charges.
The Fosters opened the Outpost in 2012. Per the Fauquier Times, the store specialized in selling foreign-sourced merchandise. Some of that included wildlife products made from endangered species such as crocodiles, sea turtles and sawfish.
The Fauquier Times reports that court documents show Foster relied on a shipping company to falsify import records in order to avoid inspection. But starting in December 2016, Foster began discussing his unlawful activity with a customer who turned out to be an undercover agent.
Foster told the undercover agent he intended to import sawfish blades even though he knew it was illegal. He told the agent, “Rest assured, I’m gonna bring more in ‘cause I’m the only fool in the States that probably wants to risk it.”
Foster would import more than 100 undeclared wildlife items, including items protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, in March and April 2017.
On April 12, 2017, Foster showed the undercover agent numerous wildlife pieces for sale and indicated he did not have the proper permits for purchasing, exporting and later importing some protected wildlife. The agent then purchased a number of wildlife items.
The Outpost was raided by agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law-enforcement division on Nov. 16, 2017.
Foster and The Outpost forfeited $275,000 and more than 175 items made from wildlife as part of his plea. Sentencing for his maximum-five-year prison term is scheduled for March 8.
The Outpost is now closed, and Foster claimed previously that he decided to close the shop in order to focus totally on his golf business. He had been retained to renovate Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.
Foster had become one of the most respected names in golf course architecture, and had also been chosen for a project to remaster Olympia Fields.