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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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What are the penalties for violating the declaration requirement?

A person who imports plants or plant products in violation of the Lacey Act declaration requirement, or falsely labels plants or plant products, could be subject to civil or criminal penalties as follows: 

Civil Penalties

Any person who violates the declaration requirement may be assessed a civil administrative penalty of not more than $250.  Any person who knowingly violates the declaration requirement, or knowingly falsely labels a plant or plant product, may be assessed a civil administrative penalty of not more than $10,000.  Furthermore, any plant or plant product imported in violation of the import declaration requirements may be subject to civil forfeiture. 

Criminal Penalties

Any person who knowingly violates the declaration requirement or knowingly violates the false labeling prohibitions could be subject to criminal penalties. If the offense involves:

  • The importation of plants, fish, or wildlife, or
  • The sale or purchase, offer of sale or purchase, or commission of an act with intent to sell or purchase plants, fish, or wildlife with a market value greater than $350, the criminal penalties for an individual are not more than 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. For a corporation the criminal penalties are not more than 5 years of probation and a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. Restitution and forfeitures may also be imposed. 

If the offense does not involve these factors, the criminal penalties for an individual are not more than 1 year in prison and a fine of $100,000 or twice the gross gain or loss.  For a corporation the criminal penalties in that circumstance are not more than 2 years of probation and a fine of $200,000 or twice the gross gain or loss.  Restitution and forfeitures may also be imposed.

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