2 Inglewood companies pleaded guilty to illegally importing live corals

Two Inglewood Marine wildlife companies pleaded guilty in federal court this week to illegally importing live coral from Vietnam, prosecutors said.

Renaissance Aquatics Inc. and Lim Aqua-Nautic Specialist Inc. Each pleaded guilty to two felony counts of illegally importing coral between 2012 and 2013.

Renaissance Aquatics operated as a retailer of live animals and Lim was an agent for Aqua-Nautic, a wildlife wholesaler.

“Companies imported marine life from foreign suppliers, then sold and shipped marine life within and outside the United States,” the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a release Wednesday. “Both companies were located within the same commercial building in Inglewood.”

Prosecutors said Renaissance employees placed orders with foreign suppliers for samples, including coral, while Aqua-Nautic provided payment, picking up and storing orders from Los Angeles International Airport.

Orders imported by Renaissance from a Vietnamese supplier include live stony corals, which are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but can be legally imported if certain declarations are made. And are identified in America. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Renaissance neither declared live stone corals in shipments from Vietnam nor provided the necessary CITES documents for them,” prosecutors said. “Renaissance Inspires Its Customs Broker to Make a Deceptive Submission to the USFWS” [document] who intentionally left out live stony corals and listed the wrong prices.”

Additionally, the shipment itself was packaged so that the corals could be hidden under appropriately declared wildlife.

From May 2012 to March 2013, Renaissance illegally imported at least eight such shipments.

Both companies are to be sentenced in November; Each faces five years of probation and a fine of one million dollars.

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