Five people charged for selling fraudulent Native artworks in Alaska

Alaskan Heritage in Ketchikan, Alaska, is one of four businesses accused of selling fradulent Native artworks. Image from Google Maps

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Alaska announced charges against five people for allegedly violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

Four business owners and one employee are accused of selling fraudulent Native artworks at various shops in Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway. Bone art carvings and other items were misrepresented as Native when in fact they were produced by non-Natives, authorities said. In one case, an item marketed as Native was manufactured in Cambodia, according to one of the indictments.

“To make the sale, people are willing to misrepresent,” assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt told the Associated Press. “We’re hoping that with this prosecution of cases, that we will be able to put it out there that this is not an acceptable practice.”

Summons are being issued to Vinod “Vinny” L. Sippy, 38; Norma M. Carandang, 60; Gabriel T. Karim, 33, Rosemary V. Libert, 56, and Judy M. Gengler, 65, to appear in federal court in Juneau on April 18, according to court documents.

Get the Story:
Shop owners charged with selling fake Alaska Native artwork (AP 3/4)
Two Juneau shop owners tied to Native art scam (The Juneau Empire 3/4)
Feds accuse 4 Southeast gift shops of peddling bogus ‘Native’ bone carvings (KTOO 3/4)
Alaska Native artists share how to spot fraudulent art (KTVA 3/4)
Southeast business owners accused of selling inauthentic Native art (Alaska Dispatch News 3/3)

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