Guitar-maker Gibson agreed to pay a settlement of $350,000 to avoid criminal charges for importing illegally harvested wood, the Justice Department announced on Monday.
A penalty of $300,000 will go to the government, with an additional $50,000 earmarked for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to promote tree conservation, the Department said in a media advisory.
The investigation was launched after Gibson allegedly imported banned ebony wood from Madgascar and rosewood and ebony from India in violation of the Lacey Act, which prohibits trafficking in protected plants and animals.
“As a result of this investigation and criminal enforcement agreement, Gibson has acknowledged that it failed to act on information that the Madagascar ebony it was purchasing may have violated laws intended to limit overharvesting and conserve valuable wood species from Madagascar, a country which has been severely impacted by deforestation,” Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno said in the Department’s advisory.
“Gibson has ceased acquisitions of wood species from Madagascar and recognizes its duty under the U.S. Lacey Act to guard against the acquisition of wood of illegal origin by verifying the circumstances of its harvest and export, which is good for American business and American consumers.”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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