Three Filipinos and four others were charged in the United States after selling jewelry imported from the Philippines and claiming it was made by native Americans in Phoenix, Arizona.
The US Department of Justice said in a statement that Mency Remedio, a factory manager in the Philippines, Orlando Abellanosa and Ariel Adlawan Candeo, jewelry smiths in the Philippines, and four Americans had been selling fake jewelry for several years, UNTV reported.
The three Filipinos conspired with four others, Richard Dennis Nisbet, his daughter Laura Marye Lott, Christian Coxon and Waleed Sarrar, to ensure the jewelry resembled authentic native American jewelry.
“The defendants and their conspirators used various jewelry businesses to design and manufacture jewelry in the native American style at factories in the Philippines where Filipino jewelry-makers made all of the jewelry,” the US Department of Justice said.
The Department added the jewelry was then imported into the US through FedEx or smuggled into the country by hand or through the Philippines postal system to destinations in Arizona.
The defendants were charged with violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which provides critical economic benefits to native American cultural development by recognizing that forgery and fraudulent arts and crafts diminish the livelihood of native American artists and craftspeople by lowering both market prices and standards.
The Department clarified that an indictment was merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.