N.M. AG reaches agreement with former Indian jewelry retailer

By Ashley Stinnett | Aug 4, 2009

Gary King (D)

SANTA FE, N.M. (Legal Newsline) New Mexico Attorney General Gary King announced Tuesday that his office has entered into a Consent Decree with a local jewelry company after the business allegedly sold fake Native American jewelry.

Last September, King filed a lawsuit targeting Golden Bear Trading, after learning that more than 50 percent of Indian jewelry on the New Mexico market was fake.

After the suit was filed, an investigation was launched which revealed many companies were selling jewelry they deemed "authentic" Native American made, when in reality the products were not, according to King.

The investigation also discovered that many of the pieces sold were made by non-Native Americans, as well as being made by overseas companies.

Under the terms of the Decree, Golden Bear Trading must comply with the New Mexico Indian Arts and Crafts Sales Act, which prohibits sellers from representing that arts and crafts are authentic, or are "Indian handmade" or "Indian crafted" when that is not true.

The company must also pay restitution to any consumer who purchased a "fake" item dating back to last year, provided they have a sales receipt or proof of purchase.

Golden Bear Trading is also required to pay $2,255 to the U.S> Department of the Interior Indian Arts and Crafts Board and $10,194.29 to the state in civil penalties.

"This is a significant conclusion to an important case for the people of New Mexico," King said.

Last month, Golden Bear Trading closed its doors,citing tough economic times.

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