April 29, 2015 — Lumber Liquidators has reported that they are under criminal investigation by the Justice Department for violating the Lacey Act by selling illegally-logged wood.
The issue has been simmering for years, beginning with a report by an environmental group who accused Lumber Liquidators of knowingly selling millions of square feet of oak and birch wood from a Chinese-owned supplier that was illegally-harvested from forests in Russia’s far east, home of the endangered Siberian tiger.
The Lacey Act was amended in 2008 to ban trafficking in illegally-logged wood.
In September 2013, Lumber Liquidator’s corporate headquarters in Virginia were searched by agents from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to today’s regulatory filing, “In recent communications, the DOJ indicated that it is seeking criminal charges under the Lacey Act.”
The Environmental Investigation Agency spent three years building a case against Lumber Liquidators. They allegedly traveled to Russian sawmills operated by Xingjia, a longtime Chinese supplier to Lumber Liquidators. Executives from Xingjia were “open about their extensive use of illegal logging to provide Western retailers with cheap quality wood products,” according to the Wall Street Journal.