Recently, the legal representatives of Lumber Liquidators Inc. appeared in court to plead guilty to four misdemeanor counts of violations of the Lacey Act and one felony count of entry of goods using false statement.
October 7th marked the release of the plea agreement for Lumber Liquidators Inc. The company agreed to pay more than $13 million in fines and be placed on a five-year probationary period while it implements a Lacey Act Compliance Plan.
Though the Lacey Act has been cracking down; this particular case marks a critical turning point in efforts to transform the global timber supply chain. With these strict laws in place, it shows that the U.S. will no longer be allowing the trafficking of stolen goods. Kate Horner, Director of Forest Campaigns for the DC-based Environmental Investigation Agency, states “Lumber Liquidators will not only pay for its past misdeeds with a hefty fine, the company will be forced to fundamentally transform their business model and sourcing practices to forgo cheap, illegal products that decimate the forests of the world as its implements a mandatory new, rigorous compliance plan.”
The DOJ started a federal investigation of the corporation’s wood sourcing practices in September 2013. By October 2013, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reported from their investigations that the company had sourced illegal timber from the Russian Far East through its Chinese suppliers, ultimately selling it to consumers across the U.S.
Lumber Liquidators isn’t the only business the Lacey Act is hitting. In early August, J&L Tonewoods was charged with poaching illegally logged Maple and selling as well as transporting it to other companies. J&L Tonewoods allegedly earned revenues in excess of $800,000 between the years 2011-2013.
The consequences are serious, and they will forever taint a business’ name. Many timber companies believe they can just take from forests that house not only animals but also offer sustainability for our future. What they don’t know is the act of illegally logging and selling of wood is becoming increasingly more difficult due to the laws that are being placed and enforced.
Bedell Guitars vows to never purchase, sell, or craft with clear-cut or illegally harvested wood. We don’t practice this because of legality issues; we practice this because we truly believe it’s the right thing to do. The value of a tree’s life is far more important than saving a dollar or making a dollar. Forests provide life and future life. That’s why as a guitar company we chose to only use salvaged or reclaimed wood to create beautiful guitars, and each will honor a trees’ life. Join us in this movement. Doing the right thing never sounded better.
Learn more about the EIA's investigation here.