Hong Kong Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Smuggle Turtles out of the United States and to Violation of The Lacey Act
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that HON KIT LAU, age 34, from Hong Kong, pled guilty today to a one-count superseding Bill of Information charging him with conspiring to smuggle turtles out of the United States and to violate the Lacey Act.
According to the superseding Bill of Information, LAU was part of a group of individuals involved in capturing the threatened species of North American Wood turtles from the wild, shipping the turtles by mail though the United States, and then illegally exporting the turtles to Hong Kong.
U.S. District Court Judge Helen G. Berrigan scheduled sentencing for February 25, 2015. LAU faces a maximum term of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Postal Inspection Service in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney David Haller is in charge of the prosecution.