The Lumber Liquidators Virginia corporate offices were raided yesterday by agents from several federal agencies.
Search warrants are still under seal, and there were no arrests at the office of the hardwood flooring retailer, said to be largest such retailer in North America.
The company, which has about 300 stores in the US and Canada, confirmed that the federal probe related to the firm’s importation of wood products from around the world and that it is cooperating with authorities.
According to what a source told the Wall Street Journal, “The agents were looking for evidence the company had imported wood products from forests in far eastern Russian that are home to the endangered Siberian tiger.”
The Journal added that “Investigators are looking into possible violations of the Lacey Act, a federal conservation statute that makes it illegal to import or sell fish, wildlife or plants if it violates state or foreign law. The act — which carries criminal penalties of up to $500,000 per violation — was amended in 2008 to include wood varieties and curb illegal logging.”
In a statement about the federal raid, Lumber Liquidators said in part that it “sources its products directly from approximately 110 domestic and international mills around the world. As a result of the normal course of business, the Company is subject to a range of international and domestic regulations. Due to the scale of its international and domestic operations, Lumber Liquidators has policies and procedures in place for the sourcing, harvesting and manufacturing of its products designed to comply with federal and other regulations related to the importation of wood flooring products. The Company has more than 60 professionals around the world who perform and monitor those processes.”
Agents from the DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US Fish and Wildlife Service participated in the search at the Lumber Liquidators headquarters in Toano, Va., and another corporate office in Richmond.
[image credit: Dwight Burdette]