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New Mexico jewelry store owner sentenced in fraud case

August 28, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico jewelry store owner has been sentenced to six months in prison and a year of supervised release for selling counterfeit Native American jewelry.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico says Nael Ali was sentenced Tuesday and ordered to pay more than $9,000 in restitution for misrepresenting goods in violation of the Indian Arts and Craft Act.

Ali’s conviction followed an earlier guilty plea by jewelry supplier Mohammad Manasra on less severe charges. Manasra was sentenced to two days in jail and a year of supervised release.

The convictions stem from an international investigation that federal authorities say laid bare the breadth and sophistication of distribution networks for fake Indian-style art and crafts.

In October 2015, federal agents raided Indian art galleries in Albuquerque, Gallup, and Calistoga, California, to seize counterfeits and evidence.

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