‘Antiques Roadshow’ dealer sent to prison for bogus appraisals‘Antiques Roadshow’ dealer sent to prison for bogus appraisals

By Joann Loviglia, The Associated Press
Friday July 12, 2002

He admitted to giving low
appraisals on items then
reselling for more money


PHILADELPHIA — An antiques dealer was sentenced Thursday to a year in prison and ordered to repay $830,000 for staging phony appraisals on the PBS series “Antiques Roadshow” and defrauding Civil War collectors. 

Russell Pritchard III, 39, pleaded guilty to making the bogus TV appraisals. He also admitted defrauding artifact owners by giving them low appraisals on items, then reselling them at much higher prices and pocketing the profit. 

According to prosecutors, Pritchard made between $800,000 and $1.5 million on the fraudulent transactions. He could have gotten up to 135 years in prison and more than $5.2 million in fines. 

Pritchard’s business partner, George Juno, pleaded guilty and will be sentenced Aug. 1. 

“Antiques Roadshow” has people bring in their old or unusual items and get on-the-spot appraisals. Often, people are surprised to learn their item is extremely valuable. 

In a segment shown in 1997, Pritchard and Juno staged an appraisal in which a man who claimed to have found a Civil War sword in his attic was told the weapon was worth $35,000. 

It turned out the story was made up; Pritchard and Juno had previously obtained the sword and arranged for a friend to bring it on the show.