A man whose home was filled with hundreds of stolen historical artifacts pleaded guilty to 40 charges in the case Wednesday and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
John Mark Tillman was given a year’s credit for time served on remand as Judge John Murphy of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court accepted a joint sentencing recommendation from the Crown and defence.
Tillman was also ordered to forfeit his home and all of its contents including two cars, a Porsche and BMW.
Outside court, Crown attorney Mark Heerema said Tillman’s lakefront property is valued between $400,000 and $700,000.
He said Tillman’s bank account contained about $300,000 and has also been forfeited.
Tillman told the court he hopes some of the money will compensate claimants in the case.
He faced charges ranging from possession of stolen property to trafficking stolen property.
Outside court, defence lawyer Mark Bailey said his client started to discuss a deal in July.
“Obviously, he is remorseful for his conduct and he just wants to get on with his life,” he said.
After Tillman’s arrest in January, the RCMP held a show-and-tell featuring some of the artifacts they found in his two-storey home in suburban Fall River, believed to have been taken from universities, libraries, museums, antique dealers and private collections. At the time, the RCMP estimated the value of the stolen property at more than $500,000.
The Mounties said the items were brazenly stolen from across Atlantic Canada over 20 years and included early editions of Daniel Defoe’s 1719 classic Robinson Crusoe.
The small sampling put on display for reporters ranged from the outlandish to the sentimental.
There was a suit of armour used as a prop from a movie that the RCMP say was pinched from an antique dealer in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.
The RCMP say their investigation began when officers pulled over a car in July 2012 and they found a letter written by Gen. James Wolfe. The one-of-a-kind note, dated 1758, had disappeared from Dalhousie University’s archives years ago.
Earlier this year, Dalhousie archivist Mike Moosberger said staff realized the letter was missing after completing an inventory in 2009, but no one knew for sure whether it had been stolen or merely misplaced. Similar Wolfe letters have fetched $18,000 (U.S.) at auction, he said.