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Utah-based company ripped out 'Made in China' tags, replaced with 'Made in USA,' officials say

·2 min read

An apparel company known for inflammatory apparel championing the Second Amendment and Donald Trump has been fined after the Federal Trade Commission found the company falsely claimed its imported apparel is made in the U.S.

Utah-based Lions Not Sheep and its owner, Sean Whalen, were slapped with a $211,335 fine last week after the FTC found the company removed “Made in China” tags, replacing them with fake “Made in the USA” labels, according to a FTC news release.

The fine comes on the heels of a complaint filed by the FTC in May.

According to the FTC, the company added phony "Made in USA" labels to clothing imported from China and other countries. The FTC release did not not identify the other countries.

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The Federal Trade Commission fined Sean Whalen and his company Lions Not Sheep more than $211,000 after it ripped "Made in China" tags out of some of its apparel and replaced them with "Made in USA" tags.
The Federal Trade Commission fined Sean Whalen and his company Lions Not Sheep more than $211,000 after it ripped "Made in China" tags out of some of its apparel and replaced them with "Made in USA" tags.

The apparel company sells items including T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets on its website as well as through Amazon and Etsy.

Products, according to the FTC, are marketed heavily through social media channels, claiming that it would “show people it’s possible to live your life as a LION, Not a sheep.”

Some shirts on its website read “give violence a chance,” depict former President Trump as the Terminator and feature military-style firearms.

"You have two choices, to be lead or to be led," the company's website read on Monday.

Whalen said in a statement to USA TODAY the company does not agree with the FTC's ruling, but has "no choice but to accept it and move on." The statement said the company has been "very honest and transparent" about its business, citing an October 2020 Facebook video posted by Whalen in which he says the company buys shirts that were made in China.

In addition to the fine, under a 12-page order from the FTC, the company and its owner must "stop making bogus made in the USA" claims and "come clean about foreign production."

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Also under the order, any qualified Made in USA claims must include "a clear and conspicuous disclosure" about the extent to which the product contains foreign parts, ingredients or components, or processing.

It goes on to read that if a product is assembled in the U.S., the company must ensure  it is last substantially transformed in the U.S., its principal assembly occurs in the United States, and that its U.S. assembly operations are substantial.

Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lions Not Sheep fined for 'Made in China' and 'Made in USA tags swap