Ga. piano company admits smuggling ivory

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ATLANTA - A Georgia piano importer has pleaded guilty to federal charges of illegally smuggling internationally protected elephant ivory into the U.S.

The U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta says 49-year-old Pascal Vieillard of Lilburn and his company, A-440 Pianos Inc., pleaded guilty Thursday. Prosecutors say the company violated federal law by bringing 855 elephant ivory key tops, totaling 1,710 pieces of ivory, into the country.

Defense attorney Thomas Findley had said earlier that his clients did not violate the law because the keys contained ivory that was more than 100 years old.

A-440 Pianos faces a maximum fine of $500,000 and five years of probation. Vieillard faces a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison and a fine of up to $100,000. A sentencing date has not been set.

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