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Mon Jan 6 2020 23:56:21

Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products

By: Ina Steiner

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If you think it's harmless to misrepresent the items you sell, take heed. The US Department of Justice announced today that three people pleaded guilty to "Conspiring to Fraudulently Sell Imported Jewelry From the Philippines As Native American-Made."

The gist of the government's case was described in this excerpt from the DOJ press release:

"According to information that the defendants admitted to as part of their pleas, from January 2016 through February 2019, they conspired with each other, and others, to design jewelry in the Native-American Indian-style and manufacture the jewelry in the Philippines with Filipino labor. 

"The defendants also conspired to import the jewelry from the Philippines to Arizona without indelible markings as required by law, and display, advertise, and sell the jewelry to customers based on false representations that the jewelry items were made by Indians in the United States."

The defendants face a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and fines up to $250,000; their sentencing dates have not yet been set.

Amazingly, the March indictment alleged that in 2018, one of the defendants sent several co-defendants emails with links to a National Geographic article titled, "Biggest Fake Native American Art Conspiracy Revealed" (March 15, 2018), with one email subject line allegedly reading, "Thus is why business is so bad." The National Geographic article reported on an ongoing federal investigation into "Native American art fraud."

Today's Department of Justice announcement cited a federal law against selling goods misrepresented as Native American:

"The Indian Arts and Crafts Act (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 and Indian tribe. The law is designed to prevent products from being marketed as "Indian made," when the products are not, in fact, made by Indians. It covers all Indian and Indian-style traditional and contemporary arts and crafts produced after 1935, and broadly applies to the marketing of arts and crafts by any person in the United States. The IACA provides critical economic benefits for 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 March 7th indictment, which spelled out the government's allegations, is available on the DOJ website.



Comments (10) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products   Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 7 00:15:05 2020

Kind of a misleading title. It's quite a stretch to imply this ruling/law would ever affect normal people selling normal stuff online.

They were basically trying to pass these off as artifacts when they were fake. Of course the feds are going to do something given there is an actual law preventing people passing goods off as Indian artifacts.



Perminate Link for Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products   Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Jan 7 05:51:35 2020

Etsy just stole $25 from me on just 2 items sold.
At this rate, it will be a very poor year.
INVESTIGATE Etsy's Robbery of OUR money ! Please...

Perminate Link for Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products   Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 7 09:11:50 2020

@TheEnd   More details, please.

We both know that STOLE is likely hyperbolic, but I TOO feel much the same way as over the past 3 years INSURANCE COMPANIES have ''stolen'' TWO fully paid for, running and reliable cars from ME.  
Both times the offending driver was SELF-ADMITTEDLY 100 percent at fault for the CRASHES, but their insurance company was able to Puff Themselves UP and refuse to REPAIR either car.  Their Take It Or Leave it payment valued each car solely upon their AGE and MILEAGE with no consideration that BOTH were ''Running Like Tops'' prior to the collisions.  
On reflection my own biggest errors were two-fold.  I should have hired a LAWYER to press my case and NOT settled.  Two, I should have crept  out of my car while rubbing my neck and insisted on transportation by ambulance to any nearby hospital.  Yes, that would be duplicitous, but having my fully paid for 2000 Lincoln Navigator snatched from my hands when we had OWNED and driven it for17 years it since 2001 with LESS than $1,200 on repair bills I considered it Tried, Tested, and Truly a valuable asset.... not a $1,700 JUNKER.  

Perminate Link for Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products   Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Jan 7 11:42:59 2020

angryllama :
SILENCE !

Perminate Link for Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products   Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Tue Jan 7 14:36:29 2020

Sounds like ebay's expert customer support teams found a side hustle.  

Perminate Link for Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products   Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 7 21:23:21 2020

Well, they need to convict Ebay for misrepresenting THEIR product, ie their services.

Perminate Link for Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products   Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 8 13:53:35 2020

well that's just the tip of the iceberg - foreign countries have been coping American jewelry for years - aw well as everything else on the planet.  Until Americans put their foot down and simply support each other. Stop buying cheap Chinese junk - it will continue making 2 new Chinese billionaires per day for China

Perminate Link for Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products   Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products

by: thievesBay This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 8 17:16:03 2020

When are the feds going to go after companies like eBay that are all about misrepresentation? eBay misrepresents itself through schemes and tricks for profit. No business ethics to be found whatsoever. eBay also supports and allows misrepresentation and fraud all over the marketplace. Counterfeit items, items not allowed by eBay's own policies which are still sold, fraudulent buyer returns and bad sellers, search manipulation, the list could go on and on....  

Perminate Link for Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products   Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 8 21:46:03 2020

@angryllama

$1700 for a 2000 Navigator

That's trade-in value in EXCELLENT condition w/ 100,000 miles...not wrecked. You got a deal.

Perminate Link for Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products   Feds Send a Message about Misrepresenting Your Products

by: flybuy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 11 00:36:56 2020

Fake Indian jewelry is way more important than intercepting the people who bring Chinese fentanyl over the border from Mexico. Way more important than rescuing children and young adults kidnapped for human trafficking purposes. If they help anyone it will be the best and biggest customers for these platforms. Companies like Wayfair and Overstock will expect to be helped the most. Joe and Suzie Six Pack will face the task of battling companies that steal their photos, their products, etc. eBay, Amazon and the others will now be able to virtue signal and claim they are just platforms. They will say they have so much business they could not possibly investigate sellers with fake designer handbags and buyers who show an address in the USA when they actually live in another country.



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