In San Antonio, a federal grand jury indicted a Kingwood man for selling allegedly fraudulent Native American-made goods on the internet, announced U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff; Edward Grace, Assistant Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement; and Meridith Stanton, Director of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, U.S. Department of the Interior.
A federal grand jury indictment unsealed today charges 58-year-old Kevin Charles Kowalis with four counts of mail fraud and four counts of misrepresentation of Indian goods under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. The indictment alleges that from January 23, 2020 to July 15, 2020, Kowalis fraudulently marketed and sold on eBay.com pieces of jewelry he received from a manufacturer in the Philippines unaffiliated with any federally recognized Native American tribe. The indictment alleges that Kowalis described the items for sale on eBay as “Native American Indian Handmade,” “Zuni,” “Navajo,” and “genuine Indian handcrafted” and received payment for the jewelry using the online payment platform, PayPal.com. As further alleged in the indictment, once he received payment Kowalis shipped the jewelry to the customer using the U.S. Postal Service including several packages containing counterfeit Native American-style jewelry to a purchaser in San Antonio.