(CNN) — A Utah man's futile search for the famed Forrest Fenn treasure in Yellowstone National Park could land him in prison for up to 12 years, according to federal prosecutors.
Rodrick Dow Craythorn, 52, pleaded guilty on January 4 to charges of excavating or trafficking in archeological resources, and injury or depredation to United States property, according to the US Attorney's Office for the District of Wyoming.
CNN could not reach Craythorn and his attorney would not comment on the case.
The cemetery houses more than 35 graves that date between 1888 and 1957, most of them for soldiers, civilian employees of the Army and relatives of the military.
"The hunt for the Forrest Fenn treasure was often viewed as a harmless diversion, but in this case it led to substantial damage to important public resources," US Attorney Mark Klaassen said in a statement. "The Defendant let his quest for discovery override respect for the law."
Fenn, an art historian and antiquities collector, hid a bronze chest filled with an estimated $1 million worth of gold, jewels and other artifacts somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. He published clues to the treasure's location in a poem in his 2010 autobiography.
Craythorn is scheduled to be sentenced on March 17 in Casper, Wyoming.