Architect Facing Prison Time For Smuggling

A renowned golf course architect is facing a maximum five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty on Wednesday to illegally transporting between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of items made from endangered species, migratory birds and other wildlife.

Keith Foster, the man in question, is best known to golfers for his renovation work currently going on at Congressional Country Club outside Washington, D.C. He was also recently tapped to renovate Olympia Fields. Among his other credits are work at courses such as Colonial, Apawamis Club, Philadelphia Cricket Club, Moraine C.C., Old White at The Greenbrier, Eastward Ho! and Orchard Lake.

When he wasn’t working on world-class golf courses, Foster and his wife, Pam, opened “The Outpost” in 2012, a specialty shop that featured “a curated bounty (that) is personally sourced from our favorite places around the globe resulting in an unrivaled selection of exceptional antiques, fantastic home furnishings and unique gifts,” according to its website

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents raided The Outpost in November 2017 and removed a variety of items from the store. Among the illegal items in the store were wildlife products made from animals on the endangered species list, including sawfish, zebras, barn owls, sea turtles and crocodiles.

“To evade enforcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 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,” a government release said

“According to court documents, on numerous occasions beginning in December 2016, Foster discussed with a customer the unlawful nature of his conduct, including telling a customer it was illegal to import sawfish blades but he was going to continue to smuggle them, saying, ‘Rest assured, I’m gonna bring more in. Cause I’m the only fool in the States that probably wants to risk it.’

“During March and April 2017, Foster imported over 100 undeclared wildlife items, including items protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) such as sea turtle shell, sawfish blades, crocodile skin bags, coral, and mounted birds of prey.”

Foster plead guilty to one count of illegally transporting and selling items made from endangered species, migratory birds and other wildlife protected by federal law in a Virginia court on December 19. He is expected to be sentenced on March 8, 2019.

In addition to the sentence, Foster also forfeited $275,000 as well as other illegal items from his stores.