If you are looking for EIA UK, it's overhere.

Lumber Liquidators sentenced for smuggling illegal wood into the United States

North America’s largest specialized flooring retailer put on probation, pays over $13 million for environmental crimes under the Lacey Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Virginia-based company Lumber Liquidators was sentenced to $13.2 million in fines and forfeitures for importing illegal wood and submitting false declarations under the Lacey Act, a conservation law that makes it a crime to import plants and animals taken in violation of state and foreign law. In addition, the company has been placed on a five-year probation, during which it must implement a strict environmental compliance plan.

In October 2015, after a two-year investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the flooring retailer pleaded guilty to smuggling illegal wood, including one criminal felony of entry of goods by means of false statements and four misdemeanor counts of violating the Lacey Act.

Lumber Liquidators had imported flooring manufactured in China, made from wood that was illegally harvested in the forests of the Russian Far East, the habitat of the world’s last remaining wild Siberian tigers.

EIA first documented Lumber Liquidators’ illegal activities in its 2013 report, Liquidating the Forests. Posing as timber buyers, EIA investigators went undercover to expose the illegal timber harvesting and trade in the Russian Far East and traced the wood through China to a company that admitted to illegal logging and paying bribes. The EIA investigation revealed that Lumber Liquidators was the single biggest trading partner of this Chinese company. The subsequent investigation by the DOJ found that Lumber Liquidators committed systemic fraud and sourced illegal timber not only from the Russian Far East but also from Burma.

“This historic criminal sentence against a major U.S. company in relation to the Lacey Act is setting an important precedent: Illegal wood is not longer tolerated in the United States,” said EIA Executive Director Alexander von Bismarck. “U.S. consumers need to be protected from unknowingly supporting organized crime and the destruction of the world’s last virgin forests.”

The penalties for Lumber Liquidators’ crimes include $7.8 million in criminal fines, $1.23 million Community Service payments, $969,175 in forfeited proceeds, and more than $3.15 million in cash through a related civil forfeiture. In order to put in place the mandatory environmental compliance plan, under which all wood imports need to be verified back to the source of harvesting, the company will have to fundamentally transform its sourcing practices and submit itself to government-approved audits.

“The real cost to the company will come from having to forego cheap, stolen wood in its supply chain while the Department of Justice looks over its shoulder,” said von Bismarck. “This case sets an important example for the rest of the industry, the business model of buying cheap wood from shady sources doesn’t pay anymore.”

###

Contact:
Maggie Dewane, EIA Press Officer, mdewane@eia-global.org, (202) 483-6621

For EIA's analysis of the plea agreement and more resources related to the case, click here.

View all Press Releases

Recent Blog Posts

Toxic Timber Intercepted in Belgium
07/15/2019
Toxic Timber Intercepted in Belgium
Raw Intelligence: TBNI
06/12/2019
The managers of the company Transport Bois Négoce International (TBNI) know how to make big money off of logging the Congo Basin forest while keeping their profit hidden from Gabonese authorities. Yet their methods remain a secret no more, as company officials described in detail to EIA investigators the tricks of their trade.

Recent Reports

Condenando El Bosque
06/26/2019
Ilegalidad y falta de gobernanza en la Amazonía colombiana
Toxic Trade: Forest Crime in Gabon and the Republic of Congo and Contamination of the US Market
03/25/2019
For four years, EIA has investigated the logging sector in the Congo and Gabon, countries that together account for approximately 60 percent of the total area under forest management in the Congo Basin. EIA’s findings reveal that one of the largest and most influential Chinese timber companies in Africa, the “Dejia Group,” has built its business model on bribery and crime.

Recent Press Releases

Condenando El Bosque
06/26/2019
Un nuevo informe de investigación de Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Condenando el Bosque, revela el modus operandi utilizado por traficantes para comercializar madera con permisos comprados en el mercado negro, incluyendo especies protegidas como el cedro; y detalla cómo intermediarios aprovechan vacíos legales para lavar madera y escapar cualquier responsabilidad legal, dejando que los titulares de los permisos de aprovechamiento paguen las consecuencias.
Toxic Trade: Forest Crime in Gabon and the Republic of Congo and Contamination of the US Market
03/25/2019
For four years, EIA has investigated the logging sector in the Congo and Gabon, countries that together account for approximately 60 percent of the total area under forest management in the Congo Basin. EIA’s findings reveal that one of the largest and most influential Chinese timber companies in Africa, the “Dejia Group,” has built its business model on bribery and crime.

Recent Videos

Raw Intelligence: TBNI
06/12/2019
The managers of the company Transport Bois Négoce International (TBNI) know how to make big money off of logging the Congo Basin forest while keeping their profit hidden from Gabonese authorities. Yet their methods remain a secret no more, as company officials described in detail to EIA investigators the tricks of their trade.
Intelligence Brute: TBNI
06/12/2019
Les dirigeants de la société Transport Bois Négoce International (TBNI) savent comment gagner beaucoup d’argent en exploitant les forêts du Bassin du Congo, tout en gardant leurs bénéfices bien cachés aux yeux des autorités gabonaises. Mais leurs méthodes ne sont plus un secret, car l’un des responsables de la société a décrit en détail ces manigances aux enquêteurs sous-couverts d'EIA.
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!