HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Authorities have started the process of seizing a piece of property owned by Tiger King’s Bhagavan “Doc” Antle as he faces charges in South Carolina and Virginia, according to documents filed Thursday in the Fifteenth Circuit Court.
The asset is a piece of land at 971 Folly Road, near Myrtle Beach Safari, which Antle owns. The action is pending in the state’s district court, according to a notice of lis pendens stating that federal authorities are “seeking judicial forfeiture” of the property.
Ryan Beasley, Antle’s attorney, said that the government returned seized property in exchange for a lis pendens on the property.
“No one is losing/gaining any leverage over the other!” he said in a written statement.
PETA had expected authorities to seize Antle’s assets, the organization previously told News13. Antle’s reported wife, China York, opened two companies — named after two chimpanzees at Myrtle Beach Safari — within days of his arrest.
“I mean, it is really hard to say what exactly those LLCs were created for, but given the timing, I would certainly be suspicious that they were created for the purpose of moving and sheltering some of Doc Antle and Myrtle Beach Safari’s assets in anticipation of the federal government freezing and potentially seizing those assets,” a spokesperson for PETA told News13 in June.
No information exists online for either company. Filed documents from the secretary of state’s office provide no further information beyond the registering agent’s name, the companies’ addresses and the companies’ names.
York is listed as an officer/director for Antle’s nonprofit organization, the Rare Species Fund, which is registered under the name Preservation Station.
Antle has pleaded not guilty to three counts of wildlife trafficking. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison for each count. He has also been indicted for money laundering charges as part of a scheme to smuggle immigrants across the border. He also allegedly used bulk cash receipts to buy the animals because he was unable to use checks, and used the cash by inflating tourist numbers at his Myrtle Beach business.
He is also facing animal trafficking charges in Virginia.
His nonprofit, the Rare Species Fund, is currently banned from accepting donations in South Carolina after the charity missed a deadline to submit its tax documents.
Tax documents obtained by News13 show that the Rare Species Fund collected $288,575 in donations in 2016, $216,109 in donations in 2017 and $177,877 in donations in 2018. In 2019, the year the money laundering scheme allegedly began, those donations quadrupled to $801,735. Donations decreased to $43,170 the following year.
The documents list that $332,623 was spent on habitat repair and construction in 2019, and $129,041 on it in 2020.
His charges allege that Antle hid the money laundering by stating that he spent it on construction at Myrtle Beach Safari.
The address for Myrtle Beach Safari is listed under a business registered in Antle’s daughter’s name, according to government records.
Antle’s nonprofit organization can no longer solicit donations in South Carolina and is currently under investigation by the state.