REAL LIFE TOMB RAIDER ON FEDERAL RAP
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[ September 10th 2004 ]

A Californian man who allegedly sold what he claimed was the 200 year-old skull of a Hawaiian warrior on eBay has been charged with a federal crime that could see him jailed for up to five years if convicted. Jerry David Hasson, 55, of Huntington Beach, California, was charged on Wednesday with a single count of violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act in connection with running one of the most bizarre auctions ever conducted online.

In February 2004, Hasson placed the skull of "200-year old warrior" who "died on Maui in the 1790s" up for auction on eBay, with bidding starting at $1,000 and an immediate purchase price of $12,500, according to prosecutors. As part of the auction, Hasson claimed to took the skull as a souvenir from a guarded excavation site located on Kaanapali Beach on Maui in 1969. Hasson stated that the skull and other skeletal remains on beach were those of Hawaiian warriors who fought with or against Hawaii's legendary King Kamehameha.

Subsequent examination of the skull revealed that it did date back over 200 years. But a recognized expert in the identification of Native Hawaiian remains at the University of Hawaii's Department of Anthropology concluded that the skull was that of a woman, who was approximately 50 years old at the time of her death. So it's hardly likely to be that of a warrior unless Hawaii harboured an Amazon race of pensioner warriors in its pre-history or a crack black magic squad - in which case a federal rap is the least of Hasson's worries.

Hasson will be summoned to appear in US District Court in Los Angeles over coming weeks to face a single charge of violating archaeological protection laws punishable on conviction by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. The skull will be reburied once it is no longer needed as evidence

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