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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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Video: Chicago Estate Jeweler Edward Kahn, Holocaust Survivor, Dies at 103

He operated the House of Kahn.

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Edward Kahn of estate jewelry company House of Kahn has died at age 103.

CBS Chicago reports that Kahn was one of the oldest Holocaust survivors.

He built House of Kahn, which has locations in Chicago and Palm Beach, FL, with his wife, Adele. Just six weeks ago he made public his plans to retire, with his daughter Tobina Kahn to take over the business.

Kahn came to the U.S. 6- years ago from Romania, having lost his parents and sister to the Holocaust.

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Video: Jeweler Wins Fight for $500,000 Snow Promotion Claim

Customers will get refunds for jewelry they bought during the holidays.

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An Idaho jeweler that held a “snow promotion” will be refunding its customers for jewelry they bought during the holiday season, KREM-TV reports.

Clark’s Diamond Jewelers in Couer D’Alene, ID, wrote in a Facebook post Monday that it had “received notification from the insurance company that our policy has been officially accepted and the award will indeed be paid out!”

The store had promised that if it snowed 3 inches or more on Jan. 11, it would refund purchases made between Nov. 22 and Dec. 31. Those purchases amounted to about $500,000.

The claim had originally been denied. Weather Command, a verification firm that works with the jeweler’s insurer, at first said snowfall on the date in question had been less than the required amount.

The store had vowed to fight for approval, believing that snowfall had indeed exceeded 3 inches.

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New List Reveals the ‘Most Common Birthstone in Every State’

The analysis comes from Shane Co.

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A new ranking from Shane Co. looks at the “most common birthstone in every state.”

In a blog post on its website, the company explains that it “used the latest CDC natality data to determine how many people are born each month in every state.” From there it was able to identify the most and least common birthstones in each state.

Peridot, the birthstone for August, “ruled the map,” emerging as the most popular stone in 40 states, including New York and California. Other birthstones are emerald, ruby, sapphire and opal.

Take a look at full results below. Shane Co. also released several other maps, inluding ones showing the “cost of each state’s most common birthstone,” the “second most common birthstone in every state” and the “rarest birthstone in every state.”

popular birthstones

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