Connect with us

Headlines

7 Accused of Fraudulent Jewelry Sales

A federal grand jury returned a 38-count indictment.

mm

Published

on

PHOENIX – Seven people have been accused in connection with an alleged scheme to import Native American-style jewelry and sell it as authentic.

On Feb. 26, a federal grand jury returned a 38-count indictment against individuals based in the U.S. and the Philippines, according to a press release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They allegedly sold the fraudulent merchandise to retail stores and individuals across the southwestern U.S.

Podcast: A One of a Kind Family Heirloom is ‘Vaporized’ … and a Jeweler Goes Above and Beyond to Replace It
Over the Counter

Podcast: A One of a Kind Family Heirloom is ‘Vaporized’ … and a Jeweler Goes Above and Beyond to Replace It

Podcast: Using Social Media to Win Customers and Lower Your Intimidation Factor
JimmyCast

Podcast: Using Social Media to Win Customers and Lower Your Intimidation Factor

Podcast: Michael O’Connor, Jewelry’s Perfect Spokesman, Visits ‘The Barb Wire’
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Michael O’Connor, Jewelry’s Perfect Spokesman, Visits ‘The Barb Wire’

According to the indictment, the defendants and their conspirators used various jewelry businesses  including Last Chance Jewelers and LMN Jewelers — to design and manufacture jewelry in the Native-American style at factories in the Philippines.

The conspirators allegedly took several measures to ensure that the jewelry resembled authentic Native American-made jewelry, including copying jewelry designs from genuine Native American artists, using traditional Native American motifs and symbols in the jewelry, and stamping the jewelry with the initials of alleged Native American artists. According to the indictment, the jewelry was then imported into the U.S. by FedEx, or smuggled into the U.S. by hand or through the Philippines Postal System, to Arizona.

From there, the jewelry was allegedly advertised and sold to the general public as authentic jewelry made by Native Americans, at jewelry and crafts stores that purported to specialize in Native American pieces. The indictment alleges that none of these jewelry items were indelibly marked with the country of origin as required by customs law.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations “is committed to targeting those who are attempting to engage in selling counterfeit goods for pure profit,”  said Scott Brown, HSI special agent in charge for the Phoenix office.

Advertisement

“Knowingly and willingly targeting unsuspected buyers is not only shameful but illegal,” he said. “This illicit activity has severe consequences, which include robbing the tribal communities of their economies by passing the arts, crafts, and jewelry as authentic Indian artifacts.”

The conspirators allegedly perpetrated this international fraud and money laundering scheme for several years in violation of federal laws, including the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

The indictment alleges that Richard Dennis Nisbet, 70, and his daughter Laura Marye Lott, 31, both of Peoria, AZ, conspired with others to design and manufacture the Native American-style jewelry in the Philippines and import the jewelry to the U.S. Lott then allegedly delivered the jewelry to retail stores in Arizona, Texas and other states and collected payments.

Christian Coxon, 45, of Selma, TX, was the owner and operator of Turquoise River Trading Co., a jewelry store in San Antonio, TX, that claimed to specialize in Indian-made jewelry. Waleed Sarrar, 43, of Chandler, AZ, owned and operated Scottsdale Jewels LLC, a jewelry store in Scottsdale, AZ, that advertised as selling authentic Indian-made jewelry.

According to the indictment, Coxon and Sarrar conspired with Nisbet, Lott and others to pass off imitation jewelry manufactured abroad to the public as authentic Native American-made jewelry.

Additionally, Mency Remedio, a factory manager in the Philippines, and Orlando Abellanosa and Ariel Adlawan Canedo, both of whom worked as jewelry smiths in the Philippines for the operation, were also charged with participating in the schemes.

Advertisement

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

Advertisement

VIDEO HIGHLIGHT

Wilkerson Testimonials

Cleaning House for a New Generation

At Komara Jewelers in Canfield, Ohio, Wilkerson handled all the aspects of its retirement sale just as owner Bob Komara’s children took over day-to-day operations of the business. They’d used other companies before, says Brianna Komara-Pridon, but they didn’t compare. “If we had used Wilkerson then, it would have been so much better.”

Promoted Headlines

Want more INSTORE? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Comment

Headlines

Jeweler Pummels Would-Be Robber with Martial Arts — Watch the Video

The 74-year-old store owner used Israeli Krav Maga.

mm

Published

on

A 74-year-old jeweler in Hollywood, FL, used Krav Maga, an Israeli martial arts style, to fight off a would-be robber.

Daniel Stetton, owner of DHS Oakwood Jewelers, said the man had bought a gold chain months ago, the Sun-Sentinel reports. Stetton offered to fix it, but the man wanted a replacement.

Stetton refused, and the man went behind the counter to grab a new chain himself.

Stetton confronted him, employing some of the Krav Maga he learned while serving in the Israeli Army decades ago.

The incident was captured on surveillance video.

He said he had no choice but to protect his business.

“I didn’t expect I would have to use it one day,” the Sun-Sentinel quoted him saying. “But, what are you going to do?”

Stetton’s wife joined the fray, swinging a yardstick at the culprit.

The man, looking dazed, grabbed his broken chain and left the store.

Police are looking for the suspect.

Read more at the Sun-Sentinel

Continue Reading

Headlines

Jeff Unger, President of Alisa Unger Designs and Long-Time INSTORE Contributor, Dies at Age 57

He fought cancer for 10 years and inspired many with his resilience and positive attitude.

mm

Published

on

Jeff Unger

Jeff Unger, president and co-owner of B & N Jewelry (d.b.a. Alisa Unger Designs) with his wife Alisa, passed away due to complications caused by renal carcinoma cancer on February 7, 2019 at the age of 57.

Jeff was an avid golfer, and when he was diagnosed with cancer, he became the coach for a local high school golf team at Weber High. He spent the last 10 years of his life teaching the game he loved to kids and adults with disabilities via the Adaptive Golf program and the MDE School. He loved his wife, Alisa, dearly and was married just shy of 33 years. Together they had two children, Brandi and Jason. As a family, they loved to travel, try new restaurants, spend time together, and most importantly, laughed together.

Jeff served as treasurer for the Southern Jewelry Travelers Association (SJTA), which produces the Atlanta Jewelry Show. He was also one of the founders of the Prime Jewelry Group.

Throughout his life, Jeff gave back to his community and to causes close to his heart. After losing a sister and sister-in-law to breast cancer, Jeff and Alisa started the foundation, Me & My Two Friends, which still runs today, donating money to breast cancer research.

Jeff fought cancer for 10 years, but not without a smile on his face. His outstanding resilience and unquenchable thirst for life were deeply inspirational to all that knew him.

Here at INSTORE, we knew Jeff as a shrewd person of business and in life, and as a friendly face we could always count on seeing at industry trade shows. Jeff contributed many columns over the years to INSTORE, writing from a supplier’s perspective and calling on both retailers and suppliers to improve communication and their working relationships. He authored a monthly e-newsletter called “The Mind Massage,” in which he would write on various business-related topics, often relating his advice back to the game of golf and almost always encouraging his readers to smile more and to connect with their fellow humans. We will miss him.

Read one of our favorite Jeff Unger columns, “Just Say Hello,” here.

And read more of Jeff’s writing for INSTORE here.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following organizations:

Continue Reading

Headlines

Newspaper Tracks Down Billionaire Jeweler Suspected in $2B Fraud

Nirav Modi has been staying in a high-dollar London apartment.

mm

Published

on

British newspaper The Telegraph tracked down Nirav Modi, the billionaire jeweler who’s suspected in a $2 billion fraud case in India, in London.

He’s been staying in a high-dollar apartment in London’s West End, according to the newspaper.

Podcast: A One of a Kind Family Heirloom is ‘Vaporized’ … and a Jeweler Goes Above and Beyond to Replace It
Over the Counter

Podcast: A One of a Kind Family Heirloom is ‘Vaporized’ … and a Jeweler Goes Above and Beyond to Replace It

Podcast: Using Social Media to Win Customers and Lower Your Intimidation Factor
JimmyCast

Podcast: Using Social Media to Win Customers and Lower Your Intimidation Factor

Podcast: Michael O’Connor, Jewelry’s Perfect Spokesman, Visits ‘The Barb Wire’
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Michael O’Connor, Jewelry’s Perfect Spokesman, Visits ‘The Barb Wire’

Last year, The New York Times described Modi as being “on the run” and noted that figuring out his location had become something of a “national pastime” in India.

He’s remained at-large despite Interpol’s issuance of a reed notice for his arrest in July, The Telegraph reports.

The newspaper, which has described Modi as “India’s most wanted man,” posted a video of the jeweler on Twitter, with Modi replying “sorry, no comment” to a reporter’s questions.

The New York Times reports that India is waiting for a reply from Britain regarding an extradition request. The Telegraph later reported that that the UK had agreed to the extradition.

Advertisement

Modi is at the center of a fraud case involving Punjab National Bank, where employees are “suspected to have steered fraudulent loans” to Modi’s businesses, Reuters has reported.

Modi is apparently involved in a new new diamond business in the UK, according to The Telegraph.

Continue Reading

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Subscribe


BULLETINS

INSTORE helps you become a better jeweler
with the biggest daily news headlines and useful tips.
(Mailed 5x per week.)

Latest Classifieds

Most Popular