Wisconsin Wood Pallet Operator Pleads Guilty to Illegal Use of ISPM 15 Stamp

The site manager of a Wisconsin wood pallet and packaging supplier has entered a guilty plea in federal court to charges of using ISPM 15 stamps to mark untreated wood, resulting in almost $350,000 in losses to Wisconsin companies, according to reports (Upper Peninsula Breaking News and Manitowoc Herald Times Observer.)

The defendant, Russel Wetenkamp, plead guilty to two counts of stamp misuse at the Newton site of Timber Creek Resource. The controlled stamps are a key component of the ISPM 15 program used to confirm that wood pallets and packaging used for international trade have been treated, and therefore free of invasive wood pests. The integrity of the ISPM 15 program is critical to preventing the spread of invasive insects.

Court documents state that untreated wood was illegally marked as being treated and compliant in a period of time spanning Nov. 30, 2014, to June 16, 2015. The defendant will appear in Green Bay on May 5, 2017, for sentencing.

In a 2015 case of stamp fraud, another operator received a fine of $100,000 and was sentenced to three years probation by a New York court.