WA man sentenced for selling $1M in counterfeit Alaska Native art

A Washington state man was sentenced Monday for selling Philippine-produced products as authentic Alaska Native-produced artwork, violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

Cristobal “Cris” Magno Rodrigo, 59, has been sentenced for violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act by selling counterfeit Alaska Native art. Rodrigo received a record-breaking two-year prison sentence and was ordered to make a $60,000 donation, write an apology published in the Ketchikan Daily Newspaper, and serve three years of supervised release.

Between April 2016 and December 2021, Rodrigo and his family operated Alaska Stone Arts LLC. and Rail Creek LLC. in Ketchikan, Alaska, while residing in Washington state. These businesses sold stone carvings and wooden totem poles, allegedly of Alaska Native origin, which were actually produced in the Philippines. Rodrigo employed Alaska Natives in his stores to deceive customers into believing the art was genuinely crafted by Alaska Natives.

Rodrigo’s sentence, the longest ever for an Indian Arts and Crafts violation, sends a strong message against such fraudulent practices. The investigation was carried out by the Department of Interior – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Office of Law Enforcement, with cooperation from multiple agencies, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt.

Co-conspirators in this case include Glenda Tiglao Rodrigo, 46, and Christian Ryan Tiglao Rodrigo, 24, whose cases are currently ongoing.

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