Ga. piano company pleads guilty to smuggling ivory

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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 illegally imported 855 elephant ivory key tops, totaling 1,710 pieces of ivory.

Defense attorney Thomas Findley had said earlier his clients didn't violate the law because the keys contained ivory that was more than 100 years old. The company's website says it sells and refurbishes new and vintage pianos.

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