Background

The Department of Justice reports that a U.S. company has been sentenced to pay a $5,000 fine and $200,000 in restitution to Peru for violating the Lacey Act’s prohibition on importing wildlife without exercising due care to identify the source of the goods.

According to a DOJ press release, Peru issues forest travel guides to establish a chain of custody and ensure that any timber harvested or transported is legal. Peru’s Agency for Supervision of Forest Resources and Wildlife audits harvest sites to ensure legal compliance and makes its findings available on an open-source website maintained by the Peruvian government. Importers are able to check the website to determine if there have been any irregularities regarding specific harvest permits and forest travel guides.

The press release states that in this case the U.S. importer was aware of such public reports detailing instances of illegal logging and fraud within the Peruvian timber industry. However, the company admitted that it failed to exercise due care in that it (1) did not obtain or review relevant harvest permits or forest travel guides prior to import, (2) failed to check the Peruvian website for irregularities connected to the timber it purchased from the Peruvian Amazon, and (3) relied on statements made by suppliers without further investigation, a site visit, or other confirmation of the truth of those statements.

For more information on Lacey Act requirements and enforcement, please contact Ned Steiner at (202) 730-4970 or via email.

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