So what: Specifically, Lumber Liquidators has agreed to plead guilty to violations of a U.S. Customs law and the Lacey Act, and to pay a total of $10 million including a $7.8 million fine, an $880,825 contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, $350,000 to the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation fund, and $969,175 in forfeited proceeds. Lumber Liquidators has also agreed to implement an "environmental compliance plan" to ensure future compliance with the Lacey Act. Note that Lumber Liquidators reserved this money in the first quarter of 2015, when the DOJ informed the company it was seeking criminal charges under the inquiry.
In addition, in response to its determination last quarter that there were Lacey Act "compliance concerns" related to certain engineered hardwood flooring, Lumber Liquidators suspended sales of roughly $4.1 million of that product pending further investigation, and brought the situation to the DOJ's attention. Because a subsequent investigation determined there were no compliance concerns with around $0.9 million of that product, Lumber Liquidators came to another settlement under which it will pay the DOJ $3.2 million in lieu of a civil forfeiture of the product. Lumber Liquidators will be permitted to sell the remaining product and retain any proceeds from that sale. The cash for this settlement was reserved by Lumber Liquidators in the second quarter of 2015.
Now what: Keep in mind, this concludes an inquiry initially launched by the DOJ in 2013, and is unrelated to separate potential regulatory action from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) relating to an investigation of certain other Lumber Liquidators products. Previously, Lumber Liquidators stated that because no formal violation has been issued and that investigation is ongoing, it can't estimate potential losses resulting from any CARB claims brought against it.
As it stands, investors are right to be encouraged Lumber Liquidators is owning up to its actions and attempting to put this situation behind it. But given the damage already done to its reputation, as well as continued uncertainty surrounding additional potential regulatory action, I'm personally content watching Lumber Liquidators stock from the sidelines.
Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Lumber Liquidators. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.