California Man Charged with Falsely Claiming That His Jewelry was Produced by an Indian
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 27, 2012|
ALBUQUERQUE—Andrew Gene Alvarez, 59, of Wofford Heights, California, has been indicted on a charge of falsely representing that jewelry he offered for sale was made by an Indian, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales.
Alvarez made his initial appearance on the indictment in Albuquerque federal court yesterday and entered a not guilty plea. He was released pending trial on conditions of release and pretrial supervision.
According to the indictment, on May 28, 2011, Alvarez offered for sale and sold jewelry at the Native Treasures Show at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center and falsely represented that the jewelry was produced by an Indian, in violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1159. If convicted of the offense charged in the indictment, Alvarez faces up to five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The Indian Arts and Crafts Act 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. It is a “truth-in-advertising law designed to prevent products from being marketed as ‘Indian made, when the products are not, in fact, made by Indians as defined in the Act.’” The Indian Arts and Crafts Board was created by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1935 to promote the economic development of American Indian and Alaska Natives through the expansion of the market of authentic Indian arts and crafts products.
The case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the National Parks Service and the Department of the Interior’s Indian Arts and Crafts Board. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers.