Gibson's violation of Lacey Act costs $500,000
On Monday there was a major development in the implementation of the Lacey Act as the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it has entered into a criminal enforcement agreement with Gibson Guitar, resolving the U.S. government’s ongoing criminal investigation into allegations that Gibson violated the Lacey Act by purchasing and importing ebony wood from Madagascar and rosewood and ebony from India.
The substance of the agreement is as follows:
• Gibson must pay a penalty of $300,000.
• Gibson will further pay a community service payment of $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to be used “to promote the conservation, identification
and propagation of protected tree species used in the musical instrument industry and the forests where those species are found.”
• Gibson will implement a detailed compliance program designed to strengthen its compliance controls and procedures.
• Gibson forfeits the wood seized by the Government during the course of the criminal investigation, including Madagascar ebony valued at $261,844.
• The government will not pursue criminal charges against Gibson in the two cases, provided that Gibson fully carries out its obligations under the agreement and commits no
The official agreement is available here. Appendix A of the agreement details the facts of the case; by accepting the agreement, Gibson accepts and acknowledges responsibility for the conduct described in this appendix. A shorter and more reader-friendly press release from the US Department of Justice can be seen here.
Further analysis can be found at;
The outcome of this case clearly highlight the commercial implications of such laws.