ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE/AP) – In one of the largest investigation conducted under the Native American Arts Act, a federal grand jury in New Mexico has indicted four people on charges accusing them of conspiring to import and fraudulently sell Filipino-made jewelry as made by Native Americans.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the indictment Tuesday stems from an investigation that began in early 2015, involved several federal agencies and resulted in a previous indictment.
- See Larry Barker’s story on counterfeits peddled as real Indian art back in 2013 »
- PDF: Indictment: Scheme to Fraudulently Import & Sell Filipino-made Jewelry as Native American
The latest indictment charges four people with conspiracy and one of the four as well as a fifth defendant, Nael Ali, 53, of Albuquerque, who is identified as the owner and operator of Gallery 8 and Galleria Azul, two arts and crafts retail stores in Albuquerque’s Old Town, is also charged with violating the IACA in Bernalillo County in Oct. 2015. Ali is not charged in the conspiracy count.
U.S. Attorney Daniel Martinez says eliminating the flow of counterfeit Native American art and craftwork provides a level playing field for producers of genuine Native American art.
The Associated Press contributed to this story