California resident on Wednesday was found guilty of illegally importing to the U.S., a mosaic believed to be 2,000 years old from Syria, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
According to U.S. authorities, 56-year-old Mohammed Yassin Alcharihi illegally imported the mosaic depicting the Roman demigod Hercules in August 2015.
He claimed he was importing ceramic tiles from Turkey valued less than 600 dollars.
The U.S. government’s appraisal expert valued the artwork, which dated from the era of the Roman Empire and was of Syrian origin, at 450,000 dollars.
Alcharihi had paid about 12,000 dollars for it and a further 40,000 dollars to restore it.
According the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, the mosaic was about 5.5 metres long and 2.4 metres tall.
It depicted a Greek mythology scene showing Hercules rescuing Prometheus, who had been chained to a rock by his fellow gods for stealing fire for humanity.
Alcharihi was convicted on a count of entry of falsely classified goods and faces up to two years in prison.
His sentencing was scheduled to take place on Aug. 31. (dpa/NAN)