NewsDecember 20, 2018

Notable golf architect facing prison after pleading guilty to smuggling endangered wildlife

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Golf architect Keith Foster plead guilty on Wednesday in a Virginia courtroom to illegally transporting between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of items made from endangered species, migratory birds and other wildlife. Foster now faces a five-year prison sentence.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Foster and his wife violated portions of the Lacey Act—which is a conservation law in the United States that prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold—when they owned a store called The Output in Middleburg, Va. The store specialized in selling foreign-sourced merchandise, a portion of which included wildlife products made from endangered species such as crocodiles, sea turtles and sawfish.

In November 2017 the store was raided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. According to the Fauquier Times, the court documents show:

"To evade enforcement by Fish and Wildlife, Foster relied on a shipping company to falsify import records in order to hide wildlife items and avoid inspection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other law enforcement officials.

Those documents indicated that starting in December 2016, on numerous occasions Foster discussed with a customer, later revealed to be an undercover agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the unlawful nature of his conduct. He also told the undercover agent that it was illegal to import sawfish blades but that he intended to smuggle them.

Foster 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, who was recently chosen to renovate Olympia Fields and is currently working on Congressional C.C., told the Fauquier Times this past October that the demands of Congressional forced him to close the Outpost. Some of Foster's recent renovations include Apawamis Club, Philadelphia Cricket Club, Moraine C.C., Old White at The Greenbrier, Eastward Ho! and Orchard Lake.

Foster is expected to be sentenced on March 8, 2019. He was also forced to forfeit $275,000 in cash, as well as other illegal items from the Outpost and his two other stores.

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