Lumber Liquidators Fined $13M for Imports

     (CN) – Lumber Liquidators will pay more than $13 million in criminal fines and restitution for illegally importing hardwood and other environmental crimes.
     Federal officials had accused the company of knowingly trafficking in Mongolian Oak from illegal sources and then lying about where the wood was harvested from. It is illegal to take Mongolian Oak from forests in Far East Russia and Myanmar because of their importance in the eco-system of the last wild Siberian tigers and Amur leopards.
     The acorns of the Mongolian Oak are food source for the deer and wild boar the tigers survive on.
     The government said that between Feb. 1, 2013 and Aug. 30, 2013, Lumber Liquidators filed documents with regulators that claimed 385.48 cubic meters of oak flooring it shipped from a supplier in China were made of Mongolian Oak harvested in Germany.
     A subsequent revealed this was not the case.
     The company is also being charged with transporting the illegally imported timber from its warehouse in Toano, Va., to online customers, and retail stores across the country.
     In May 2015, Lumber Liquidator CEO Robert Lynch resigned, as the company was being overwhelmed by its controversies.
     “The case against Lumber Liquidators shows the true cost of turning a blind eye to the environmental laws that protect endangered wildlife,” said Assistant Attorney General John Cruden for the U.S. Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
     “This company left a trail of corrupt transactions and habitat destruction. Now they will pay a price for this callous and careless pursuit of profit,” Cruden said.
     Under the plea agreement, Lumber Liquidators will pay a total $13.15 million, including $7.8 million in criminal fines; $969,175 in criminal forfeiture; and $1.29 million in community service payments including payments to conservation groups.
     The company also agreed to a five-year term of organizational probation and mandatory implementation of a government-approved environmental compliance and independent audits.
     Lumber liquidators will also pay more than $3.15 million in cash through a related civil forfeiture.

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