NEW YORK – Lumber Liquidators will pay more than $13 million for illegally importing hardwood flooring, after the company pleaded guilty to environmental crimes last year.
The Department of Justice said that Lumber Liquidators made hardwood floors in China from illegally cut Mongolian oak trees in Russia. Those trees are needed to protect endangered Siberian tigers and Amur leopards because their prey eats the acorns from them, the Justice Department said.
Lumber Liquidators, which was sentenced Monday in federal court, will pay $7.8 million in criminal fines, more than $1.2 million in community service payments and nearly $970,000 in criminal forfeiture. It will also pay about $3.2 million through a related civil forfeiture. The company also agreed to a five-year probation period.
The Department of Justice said that the penalty is the biggest for timber trafficking under the Lacey Act.
Lumber Liquidators said in a statement Monday that it is “pleased to put this legacy issue behind us.”
The company pleaded guilty to environmental crimes in October. Its plea agreement was unrelated to the controversy over some of its laminate flooring from China, which the CBS TV news show “60 Minutes” had reported contains high levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde.
Based in Toano, Virginia, Lumber Liquidators sells flooring at more than 370 stores around the country.