Ga. piano company sentenced for smuggling ivory

AP News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2011 3:58 PM
Ga. piano company sentenced for smuggling ivory

A Georgia piano importer has been sentenced to three years of probation after pleading guilty to federal charges of illegally smuggling internationally protected elephant ivory into the United States.

Pascal Vieillard of Lilburn and his company, A-440 Pianos Inc., were each ordered to pay $17,500 fines Wednesday at a sentencing hearing. Prosecutors say the company illegally imported 855 elephant ivory key tops, totaling 1,710 pieces of ivory.

Defense attorney Thomas Findley had said his clients didn't violate the law because the keys contained ivory that was more than 100 years old.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said the cases send a message that her office will prosecute violations of federal laws designed to protect endangered species.

Federal authorities say the case was prompted by a tip in September 2009.