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Michigan auction house owner arrested for sale of rare Korean artifact


The owner of a Michigan auction house is facing federal charges that he sold a stolen Korean artifact.

James Amato, of Oxford, was arrested today.  He handled the sale of a rare Korean currency plate back in 2010.  

The family of a deceased Korean War vet offered the plate for sale through Amato’s auction house.   The buyer paid 35 thousand dollars for the plate.

Experts believe it's one of three currency plates still in existence from the 1890s. 

Khaalid Walls is a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  He says the case is a little unusual.

“It’s not something we see a lot of in Michigan, but more in places like New York and (Washington) D.C.,” says Walls.

Amato could face a decade in a federal prison and fines of up to a quarter million dollars if he’s convicted of violating the National Stolen Property Act.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.