A Washington state man who falsely claimed Native American heritage to promote his paintings at downtown Seattle galleries was sentenced Wednesday to federal probation and neighborhood service.
The U.S. legal professional’s workplace stated Lewis Rath, of Maple Falls, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Courtroom to 2 years probation and 200 hours of neighborhood service. He was charged in 2021 with a number of crimes together with violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which prohibits misrepresentation in advertising American Indian or Alaska Native arts and crafts.
An investigation began in 2018, when the Indian Arts and Crafts Board acquired a grievance about Rath, in line with the U.S. legal professional’s workplace.
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Rath falsely claimed to be a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona and bought carved wood totem poles, transformation masks and pendants to Seattle retail shops, the legal professional’s workplace stated.
Brokers looking Rath’s residence additionally recovered feathers from birds protected underneath the Bald and Golden Eagle Safety Act and the Migratory Chicken Treaty Act, in line with outcomes from the Nationwide Fish and Wildlife Forensic Lab.
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“Counterfeit Indian artwork, like Lewis Anthony Rath’s carvings and jewellery that he misrepresented and bought as San Carlos Apache-made, tears on the very cloth of Indian tradition, livelihoods, and communities,” U.S. Division of the Inside Indian Arts and Crafts Board Director Meridith Stanton stated in a Justice Division assertion. “Rath’s actions demean and rob genuine Indian artists who depend on the creation and sale of their paintings to place meals on the desk, make ends meet, and cross alongside these necessary cultural traditions and abilities from one technology to the following.
Stanton additionally stated his actions undermine shoppers’ confidence within the Indian artwork market within the Northwest and nationwide.
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Jerry Chris Van Dyke, often known as Jerry Witten, 68, of Seattle, additionally pleaded responsible to violations of the IACA in March. He was sentenced on Might 17 to 18 months of federal probation.