Pritchard pleads guilty to swindling consignors

PHILADELPHIA – Antique dealer Russell Pritchard, who used to make regular appearances on Antiques Roadshow, has pleaded guilty to theft charges in Montgomery County, Pa., for stealing antiques worth more than $100,000, according to KYW Newsradio.

Pritchard, 44, of Beach Haven, N.J., could face up to 24 years behind bars. He owned the Bryn Mawr (Pa.) Auction Co., and took furniture, paintings, silverware and china on consignment, sold the items but never paid the owners. When they went to complain, his store was vacant.

Based on the values of the stolen items, Montgomery County Prosecutor Tracey Potere will ask a judge to send Pritchard to prison: “This was not a momentary lapse in judgment by the defendant. This was a well-thought-out, calculated decision by the defendant to steal.”

Pritchard pleaded guilty in 2001 to a 21-count federal indictment charging him with fraud related to Civil War artifacts. He was also charged with staging phony appraisals on Antiques Roadshow. He got one year in jail, was ordered to pay back more than $800,000, and was banned from the TV show.