Hobby Lobby to pay $3 million over smuggled artifacts

Hobby Lobby to pay $3 million over smuggled artifacts
Posted at 10:15 PM, Jul 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-05 19:31:21-04

(CNN) - Hobby Lobby has been hit with a big fine from the federal government for illegal smuggling.

On Wednesday, the arts and crafts chain agreed to settle civil action the Justice Department brought against the company.

The DOJ accused Hobby Lobby of smuggling ancient cuneiform tablets and clay artifacts from modern-day Iraq into the United States.

Cuneiform is an ancient system of writing on clay tablets that was used in Mesopotamia.

The DOJ says Hobby Lobby gave its consent for the artifacts to be falsely labeled as "ceramics" and "samples" and illegally shipped to its stores and two corporate offices.

In a statement, the conservative Christian company says it has been acquiring a variety of historical Bibles and other artifacts since 2009.

The company said that is consistent with their mission and passion for the Bible.

Hobby Lobby's president admitted they should have been more careful about the acquisitions.

According to court documents, the retail chain agreed to pay a $3 million fine and to forfeit thousands of Iraqi artifacts.

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