Smooth criminal: Here are all the crimes Joe Exotic went to jail for
It’s hard to believe that Tiger King counts as true crime, but by the time you get to the crime part, it’s clear it is. There’s a million and one things Joe Exotic could’ve gotten himself arrested for over his very vibrant career as an exotic animal dealer/zoo owner.
While the man is officially going to jail for attempting to murder Big Cat Rescue CEO and rival Carole Baskin, there’s more that could’ve landed Exotic behind bars. Besides his crimes against fashion, Exotic was charged and found guilty of 19 counts of various crimes.
Two counts of murder-for-hire
Let’s start with the obvious one: trying to kill your rival lands you in jail. It’s just that simple. But the mediocrity in his attempts to kill Baskin are honestly funnier than trying to kill her in the first place.
Exotic’s first hitman was Allen Glover, a man who was desperate for freedom from the terrors of the GW Animal Park. Giving him $3,000, Exotic told Glover to take Baskin out. But his mistake was Glover was desperate for a way out, and Exotic just gave him it. Exotic took the money and ran away to Florida, getting his freedom from the zoo.
A month later, Exotic hired his next hitman, who actually was an undercover agent with the FBI. While no money was exchanged, they did get his request on record. Combine that with Glover’s testimony and willingness to testify against Glover in court, and you got yourself a free ticket to jail.
Eight counts of falsifying records
Naturally, as Exotic was investigated for trying to kill Baskin, investigators went through the zoos’ documentation. Just to make sure there was nothing else going on and find more proof of his attempted attacks on Carole.
But investigators found a hell of a lot of falsified records. Specifically, regarding his wildlife transactions. On transportation forms and veterinary inspection forms, Exotic would purposefully mark that the animals were being moved for exhibition or donation purposes, though he was moving them for illegal sales. Speaking of. . .
Nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act
Anyone appalled at the animal abuse in Tiger King can breathe a little easier knowing Joe Exotic did get charged for it. Between 2016 and 2018, he violated the Endangered Species Act at least nine times that they have documented, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the number was higher.
One specific example named in court was when Exotic shot and killed five tigers without a vet present. Already, that’s inhumane, but because the tigers were protected, this violated the Endangered Species Act as well.
A cool 276 months in jail
All and all, Exotic was looking at a maximum of nearly 60 years in jail for his crimes. He did get a full 216 months, or 18 years, for the murder-for-hire charges. But the judge gave him 12 months and 48 months for each violation of the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act, respectively.
He let these charges run concurrently, so Exotic only serves 12 months and 48 months for those charges. All together, Exotic earned himself a nice 276 months in jail, or 23 years total for his crimes. Once free, he gets three years of supervised release. Definitely not the cool cat way of doing things.
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