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Arizona Residents Are Accused Of Selling Fake Indian Jewelry

A father and daughter from Peoria and a Scottsdale business owner are accused of international fraud and money laundering. The charges involve fraudulently selling imported jewelry as authentic Native American-made items.

A federal grand jury in Phoenix returned a 38-count indictment against seven people, including three Valley residents.

70-year-old Richard Dennis Nisbet and his 31-year-old daughter, Laura Marye Lott of Peoria, are accused of conspiring with others to design and make jewelry in the Philippines and pass it off as authentic Native American items.

Prosecutors allege Lott delivered the jewelry to stores in Arizona and other states. According to the indictment, 43-year-old Waleed Sarrar, owner of Scottsdale Jewels, conspired with the others to pass off the imitations. Christian Cox, of Selma, Texas, the owner of Turquoise River Trading Company, was also named in the indictment.

The other alleged conspirators are Mency Remedio, a factory manager in the Philippines, and Orlando Abellanosa and Ariel Adlawan Canedo who worked as jewelry smiths in what prosecutors call, "the multi-year fraud and money laundering schemes."

Prosecutors allege the defendants copied designs from genuine Native American artists, using traditional Native American motifs and symbols, and stamped the jewelry with initials of alleged Native American artists.

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As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.