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Jeweler Sentenced to Prison for Fraudulent Sales

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He pleaded guilty to 2 felony charges.

A New Mexico jeweler has been sentenced to six months in prison for selling counterfeit Native American jewelry as “Indian-Made.”

Nael Ali, 54, of Albuquerque previously pleaded guilty to two felony charges of violating the Indian Arts and Craft Act. Ali owned two jewelry stores, Gallery 8 and Galleria Azul, in Albuquerque’s Old Town specializing in Native American jewelry.

U.S. District Judge Judith C. Herrera of the District of New Mexico also ordered Ali to serve a year of supervised release and pay $9,000 in restitution.

The IACA prohibits the offer or display for sale, or the sale of any good in a manner that falsely suggests that it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian tribe.

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“The tremendous contributions made by Native Americans to the cultural and artistic heritage of our nation must be preserved and protected,” said New Mexico U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson.  “This case and the continuing investigation demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to safeguard the rich culture and heritage of New Mexico’s Pueblos and Tribes while promoting confidence in New Mexico’s rich art market.”

The charges against Ali and co-defendant Mohammad Manasra, 58, also of Albuquerque, were the result of an ongoing federal investigation led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and FBI into an international scheme to violate the IACA. During a law enforcement operation in October 2015, federal agents executed 15 search warrants in New Mexico and one in California. Eight of the search warrants were executed in Albuquerque including four at retail and wholesale jewelry businesses. In addition, search warrants were executed at three jewelry stores in Gallup, three jewelry stores in Santa Fe, and a jewelry production shop in Zuni. Federal agents also executed a search warrant at a jewelry store in Calistoga, CA. Three federal seizure warrants also were executed on accounts in a Charlotte, NC, bank and a San Francisco bank. In addition, the Philippines National Bureau of Investigations conducted a series of investigative interviews at two factories in Cebu City, Philippines.

Manasra, a wholesaler, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating IACA on Oct. 5, 2017, and admitted fraudulently selling a Kokopelli pendant and earing set, two rings, a bracelet and an orange cluster pendant to an undercover agent. He was sentenced on May 10, 2018, to two days of imprisonment and a year of supervised release. Manasra also was ordered to forfeit 5,268 pieces of Native-American style jewelry and to pay a $500 money judgment.

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Wilkerson Testimonials | Zadok Master Jewelers

Stick to the Program — And Watch Your Sales Grow

When Zadok Master Jewelers in Houston, Texas, decided to move to a new location (they’d been in the same one for the 45 years they’d been in business), they called Wilkerson to run a moving sale. The results, says seventh-generation jeweler Jonathan Zadok, were “off the charts” in terms of traffic and sales. Why? They took Wilkerson’s advice and stuck to the company’s marketing program, which included sign twirlers — something Jonathan Zadok had never used before. He says a number of very wealthy customers came in because of them. “They said, ‘I loved your sign twirlers and here’s my credit card for $20,000.’ There’s no way we could have done that on our own,” says Zadok. “Without Wilkerson, the sale never, ever would have come close to what it did.”

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Headlines

Jeweler Sentenced to Prison for Fraudulent Sales

mm

Published

on

He pleaded guilty to 2 felony charges.

A New Mexico jeweler has been sentenced to six months in prison for selling counterfeit Native American jewelry as “Indian-Made.”

Nael Ali, 54, of Albuquerque previously pleaded guilty to two felony charges of violating the Indian Arts and Craft Act. Ali owned two jewelry stores, Gallery 8 and Galleria Azul, in Albuquerque’s Old Town specializing in Native American jewelry.

U.S. District Judge Judith C. Herrera of the District of New Mexico also ordered Ali to serve a year of supervised release and pay $9,000 in restitution.

Advertisement

The IACA prohibits the offer or display for sale, or the sale of any good in a manner that falsely suggests that it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian tribe.

“The tremendous contributions made by Native Americans to the cultural and artistic heritage of our nation must be preserved and protected,” said New Mexico U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson.  “This case and the continuing investigation demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to safeguard the rich culture and heritage of New Mexico’s Pueblos and Tribes while promoting confidence in New Mexico’s rich art market.”

The charges against Ali and co-defendant Mohammad Manasra, 58, also of Albuquerque, were the result of an ongoing federal investigation led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and FBI into an international scheme to violate the IACA. During a law enforcement operation in October 2015, federal agents executed 15 search warrants in New Mexico and one in California. Eight of the search warrants were executed in Albuquerque including four at retail and wholesale jewelry businesses. In addition, search warrants were executed at three jewelry stores in Gallup, three jewelry stores in Santa Fe, and a jewelry production shop in Zuni. Federal agents also executed a search warrant at a jewelry store in Calistoga, CA. Three federal seizure warrants also were executed on accounts in a Charlotte, NC, bank and a San Francisco bank. In addition, the Philippines National Bureau of Investigations conducted a series of investigative interviews at two factories in Cebu City, Philippines.

Manasra, a wholesaler, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating IACA on Oct. 5, 2017, and admitted fraudulently selling a Kokopelli pendant and earing set, two rings, a bracelet and an orange cluster pendant to an undercover agent. He was sentenced on May 10, 2018, to two days of imprisonment and a year of supervised release. Manasra also was ordered to forfeit 5,268 pieces of Native-American style jewelry and to pay a $500 money judgment.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials | Zadok Master Jewelers

Stick to the Program — And Watch Your Sales Grow

When Zadok Master Jewelers in Houston, Texas, decided to move to a new location (they’d been in the same one for the 45 years they’d been in business), they called Wilkerson to run a moving sale. The results, says seventh-generation jeweler Jonathan Zadok, were “off the charts” in terms of traffic and sales. Why? They took Wilkerson’s advice and stuck to the company’s marketing program, which included sign twirlers — something Jonathan Zadok had never used before. He says a number of very wealthy customers came in because of them. “They said, ‘I loved your sign twirlers and here’s my credit card for $20,000.’ There’s no way we could have done that on our own,” says Zadok. “Without Wilkerson, the sale never, ever would have come close to what it did.”

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular