What did Hobby Lobby steal?
In July of 2017, news broke that the craft store chain Hobby Lobby had agreed to pay a $3 million fine and forfeit thousands of ancient artifacts that were smuggled into the United States. The company had knowingly purchased the artifacts, which were illegally taken from Iraq, and misled federal investigators about their origins.
This wasn’t the first time that Hobby Lobby had been caught up in a scandal. In 2012, the company was fined $1.3 million for illegally importing ancient Egyptian artifacts. And in 2016, it was forced to return more than 5500 artifacts it had purchased from a dealer who had been convicted of smuggling.
Despite its repeated offenses, Hobby Lobby has managed to avoid any major penalties.
The company has paid relatively small fines and been allowed to keep the smuggled artifacts it has purchased. In the case of the Iraqi artifacts, Hobby Lobby even got to keep most of them, despite admitting that it knew they were illegally smuggled.
The leniency shown towards Hobby Lobby is in contrast to the harsh penalties handed down to other artifact smugglers. For example, in 2015 a man was sentenced to six years in prison for smuggling ancient coins into the United States. And in 2016, a woman was sentenced to three years in prison for smuggling Roman coins into the country.
The different treatment of Hobby Lobby and individual artifact smugglers highlights the preferential treatment that corporations often receive from the justice system. While individuals can be facing harsh penalties for their actions, corporations are often able to get away with much less.
What did Hobby Lobby Steal? They stole ancientartifacts from Iraq that were smuggled into the United States.