September 25, 2023


Without Art It's Really Boring!!!

Washington male gets monumental sentence in Indian Arts and Crafts Act case

4 min read

Juneau, Alaska – A Washington state gentleman was sentenced Monday for marketing Philippine generated products and solutions as genuine Alaska Native made artwork, violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

According to court docket files, Cristobal “Cris” Magno Rodrigo, 59, was sentenced to two years in federal prison. He is also demanded to make a $60,000 donation to the Tlingit and Haida Central Counsel Vocational Plan, generate a letter of apology to be posted in the Ketchikan Day by day Newspaper and serve three years’ supervised release. In accordance to the Indian Artwork and Crafts Board, this is the longest sentence a defendant has received for any Indian Arts and Crafts violation in the U.S. – 18 months extended than any other sentence.

From April 2016 to December 2021, although residing in Washington condition, Rodrigo and his household owned and operated Alaska Stone Arts LLC. and Rail Creek LLC. in Ketchikan, Alaska. Alaska Stone Arts LLC. mostly offered stone carvings, and Rail Creek LLC. generally marketed wood totem poles. The carvings and totem poles have been sourced from Rodrigo Artistic Crafts, a enterprise owned by his spouse and positioned in the Philippines.

The Philippine enterprise was produced for the sole goal of creating carvings showcasing Alaska Native patterns and motifs applying Philippine labor. The carvings had been shipped to the U.S. and then to the family’s shops in Ketchikan exactly where they have been later offered as authentic Alaska Indigenous art.

Rodrigo also employed Alaska Natives at the two Ketchikan shops to stand for and offer Philippine made artwork as their possess authentic Alaska Indigenous artwork. The workers advised shoppers they had been all similar family members performing in the retailer and the artwork was all generated from domestically sourced materials and designed by Alaska Natives.

Prior to the conspiracy, Rodrigo labored in Alaska at unique retailers and shops creating stone carvings that have been marketed in the vacationer trade for more than 20 decades. He taught the kinds of Alaska Native stone art and wooden totem poles to the Philippine based corporation.
In 2019 and for section of 2021, the spouse and children and their Alaska-based corporation personnel marketed above $1 million really worth of Philippine designed carvings introduced as Alaska Indigenous artwork.

Co-conspirators in this case include things like Glenda Tiglao Rodrigo, 46, and Christian Ryan Tiglao Rodrigo, 24. Their circumstances are ongoing.

“The steps the defendant took to purposefully deceive customers and forge artwork is a cultural affront to Alaska Indigenous artisans who satisfaction themselves on developing these historical performs of art, and negatively has an effect on these who make a dwelling training the craft,” mentioned U.S. Lawyer S. Lane Tucker for the District of Alaska. “Mr. Rodrigo’s monumental sentence is a testomony to the federal government’s devotion to prosecuting Indian Arts and Crafts Act violations, and the U.S. Attorney’s office will proceed to function with legislation enforcement associates to protect Alaska Indigenous cultural heritage and unwitting customers, and keep perpetrators accountable who have out this form of fraud.”

“The Indian Arts and Crafts Board administers and enforces the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, a reality-in-marketing regulation,” claimed Indian Arts and Crafts Board Director Meridith Stanton. “The Act is meant to rid the Alaska Native and Indian arts and crafts marketplace of fakes and counterfeits, in get to guard the financial livelihoods and cultural heritage of Alaska Native and Indian artists and craftspeople and their Tribes and villages, as well as the obtaining public. Genuine Alaska Indigenous artwork and craftwork is an crucial resource for passing down cultural traditions, traditional expertise, and artistic competencies from 1 era to the following.  Fakes and counterfeits, this sort of as individuals marketed for huge sums of money by the Rodrigos, tear at the quite cloth of Alaska Native society, Indigenous livelihoods, and Indigenous communities.  Mr. Rodrigo’s sentencing need to mail a solid message to all those who prey upon reliable Alaska Native artists and vulnerable consumers that this harmful perform will not be tolerated, and Act violators will be held accountable.”

“The Rodrigos bought imported solutions as Alaska Indigenous made in their Ketchikan, Alaska store,” reported Edward Grace, Assistant Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Support Workplace of Legislation Enforcement. “This misleading small business apply cheated customers and undermined the economic livelihood of Alaska Indigenous artists. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a dedicated workforce of unique brokers that function on violations of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. This sentence was the final result of the robust collaboration amongst our exclusive agents, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, and the U.S. Attorney’s Business office.”

The Section of Interior – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Workplace of Legislation Enforcement, with aid from the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, U.S. Customs and Boarder Protections, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, investigated the situation.

Assistant U.S. Lawyer Jack Schmidt prosecuted the situation.

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