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7 Accused of Fraudulent Jewelry Sales

A federal grand jury returned a 38-count indictment.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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Jewelry Chain Looks to Build $13M Headquarters

It will employ about 100 people.

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James Avery, a Texas-based manufacturer that operates 88 stores, is looking to open a second headquarters at a cost of $13 million.

The facility would be located in Cedar Park, TX, KXAN-TV and the Austin Business Journal report.

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James Avery Craftsman Inc. is seeking more than $500,000 in economic incentives for the project.

As part of the agreement, the headquarters would need to have a payroll of about $4.9 million by 2025. It would also need to consist of at least 35,000 square feet.

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The Business Journal reports that the facility would have more than 100 employees.

Kerrville-based James Avery, known in part for its Christian-themed jewelry, is particularly popular in its home state of Texas, where it operates 80 stores.

Read more at KXAN-TV

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Video: 3 Millennial Couples Reveal Their True Thoughts On Lab-Grown Diamonds

MVI Marketing has released a new video.

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MVI Marketing has released a new video in which three millennial couples reveal what they think about lab-grown diamonds.

The couples interviewed by MV Eye are all actively shopping for engagement rings.

In the video, which is under three minutes long, they’re asked about topics such as their budget, their shopping preferences and their views on lab-grown diamonds.

Watch the video:


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GIA Identifies Mixed Natural-Synthetic Diamond

It ‘could be a new type of product entering the market.’

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The Gemological Institute of America had identified a stone that is a composite of synthetically grown and natural diamond.

It was described as a 0.64-carat fancy grayish greenish blue cushion modified brilliant. It turned out to have a “CVD synthetic diamond overgrowth,” according to GIA, which described the finding in the Spring 2019 issue of Gems & Gemology, its quarterly scientific journal.

The grayish greenish blue was caused by the gray and blue components from the CVD layer and the yellow from the substrate.

“The resulting color was likely the main motivation for growing the CVD layer on top of the natural diamond, though the extra weight gained could also be a factor,” according to the article.

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GIA added: “With the second of these composites seen at GIA, this could be a new type of product entering the market.

“Earth-grown diamonds with synthetic diamond grown on the surface require extra scrutiny due to the presence of natural-looking features, both spectroscopic and gemological. Careful inspection still reveals the presence of synthetic indicators, which expose the true nature of the diamond.”

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