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October 3, 2018

Blessings, Inc., of Tucson, Arizona, and two associated individuals, were sentenced following guilty pleas to pay over $1.2 million in fines, forfeiture and restitution for the illegal trafficking in sea cucumber from 2010-2012. Defendants admitted that they obtained the sea cucumber in Mexico in violation of Mexican law, imported the sea cucumber into the United States with false documentation, and illegally exported the sea cucumber to Asia.  Portions of the fines will be deposited in the Lacey Act Rewards Fund and the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Fund. USAO S.D. Cal.

September 18, 2017

Utah-based Young Living Essential Oils pleaded guilty to federal misdemeanor charges regarding its illegal trafficking of rosewood oil and spikenard oil in violation of the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act.  The Company was sentenced to a fine of $500,000, $135,000 in restitution, a community service payment of $125,000 for the conservation of protected species of plants used in essential oils, and a term of five years’ probation. DOJ

October 22, 2015

Virginia-based hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators Inc. pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act through its illegal importation of hardwood flooring manufactured in China from timber illegally logged in far eastern Russia, in the habitat of the last remaining Siberian tigers and Amur leopards in the world.  Under the plea agreement, Lumber Liquidators will pay $13.15 million, the largest financial penalty ever for timber trafficking under the Lacey Act and one of the largest Lacey Act penalties ever.  DOJ

January 14, 2015

Florida-based auction house Elite Estate Buyers Inc. (doing business as Elite Decorative Arts) and the company’s president and owner, Christopher Hayes, pleaded guilty to an illegal wildlife trafficking and smuggling conspiracy in which the auction house sold rhinoceros horns and objects made from rhino horn, elephant ivory and coral that were smuggled from the US to China. Hayes and Elite admitted to helping smugglers traffic in endangered and protected species and falsifying records and shipping documents to avoid the scrutiny of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Customs and Border Protection. DOJ

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