Toano, Va.—Lumber Liquidators pleaded guilty to environmental crimes related to importing flooring manufactured in China from timber illegally logged in Eastern Russia, the habitat for the world’s last remaining Siberian tigers and Amur leopards.
The company entered a plea agreement to one felony and four misdemeanors in U.S. District Court. As part of the agreement, the company agreed to pay $13.2 million to end a federal investigation. The Department of Justice said the financial penalty is the largest ever imposed for illegal timber trafficking.
Sentencing is set for Feb. 1.
According to a report filed with the plea agreement, Lumber Liquidators should have known the flooring manufactured in China was made from illegally sourced Mongolian oak. However, the company failed to heed “red flags” as required by its own internal procedures.
“Lumber Liquidators’ race to profit resulted in the plundering of forests and wildlife habitat that, if continued, could spell the end of the Siberian tiger,” said John C. Cruden, assistant attorney general, in a written statement.