/ Modified jan 8, 2020 4:19 p.m.

Scottsdale man admits to misrepresenting jewelry as Native American-made

A group sold the fraudulent jewelry, made in the Philippines, all over the West.

A Scottsdale business owner and two other people admitted to misrepresenting jewelry made in the Philippines as Native American-made in the United States.

Waleed Sarrar of Scottsdale Jewels said he helped order and misrepresent the Filipino jewelry as Native-American made along with two other conspirators. Sarrar, Laura Marye Wesley and Christian Coxon all pleaded guilty Jan. 6 to conspiracy to commit misrepresentation of Indian-produced goods and wire fraud. Wesley also pleaded guilty to mail fraud, smuggling goods and entry of goods by means of false statement.

According to the Department of Justice, the group operated their fraudulent jewelry scheme from January 2016 to February 2019, selling their jewelry in Arizona, California and other Western states. They designed their fake Native American jewelry together. Wesley admitted to working with the Filipino workers to manufacture the jewelry and distributing it to jewelry stores in Arizona, California and other Western states.

Coxon will sentenced on March 23 and both Wesley and Sarrar will be sentenced on March 30. They each could face up to five years in prison and fines totaling $250,000 under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990.

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