Hobby Lobby is hit with a multi-million-dollar fine after getting into trouble with the Department of Justice. At issue, is how it obtained ancient artifacts from the Middle East starting in 2009.
The Oklahoma City based craft store was hit with a lawsuit by the Department of Justice. It says, even after being warned by an expert that the Iraqi artifacts may have been looted, it went forward with the purchase of thousands of items for $1.6 million.
News 9 spoke to the head of a Washington D.C.-based non-profit which fights what it calls “cultural racketeering.”
“The items all came from a country that is known to be in crisis and has been in crisis for years and the looting and trafficking of antiquities is pouring money into that crisis,” says Antiquities Coalition Executive Director Tess Davis.
Prosecutors says the acquisition of the items was “fraught with red flags.” The DOJ alleges that the packages that were shipped to Oklahoma had labels falsely claiming the contents were "tile samples.”
In a statement, Hobby Lobby President Steve Green said “We should have exercised more should have used more oversight."
As part of the settlement with the DOJ, Hobby Lobby will now forfeit the items and pay a $3 million fine.