anchorage man convicted of falsely advertising alaska native made product
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that Edward R. Schlief, a resident of Anchorage, Alaska, was convicted and sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for falsely advertising seal skin bow hunting tabs as being made by Alaska Natives.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess imposed a sentence of three years probation and a $7,500 fine on Schlief, 69.
According to information presented to the court by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aunnie Steward and Kevin Feldis who prosecuted the case, the defendant Edward Schlief, who owned and operated Alaska Bowhunting Supply LLC, is not an Alaska Native or a member of any Indian tribe or organization. Between approximately August 5, 2005, and October 2008, Schlief produced and sold bow hunting finger tabs made from seal skins by non-Native Alaskans that he marketed and advertised as being made in Alaska by Alaskan Natives. Schlief hired an individual who he knew was not an Alaska Native or a member of any Indian tribe to make the seal skin finger tabs, and he further knew that the seal skin tabs were manufactured using a die and hydraulic press machines, and that they were not Indian or Alaskan Native products or handicraft.
Schlief sold and falsely advertised hundreds of these seal skin finger tabs directly through the Alaska Bowhunting Supply LLC website, and also sold them wholesale to retailers including to the outdoor retailer Cabela’s. Retail and wholesale sales of the seal skin finger tabs totaled over $7,000 in 2005, over $4,000 in 2006, over $3,500 in 2007 and over $2,400 in 2008. Those companies purchased the finger tabs wholesale then re-sold them to others. In order to produce these goods, Schlief illegally purchased and possessed unaltered seal skin hides. He then provided these unaltered hides to the person he paid to cut and manufacture the tabs as described above.
Schlief falsely advertised these items as being made by Alaskan Natives and suggested that they were Indian produced in order to increase the interest of potential customers in his product, and in order to conceal the fact that he was illegally purchasing and possessing unaltered seal skins.
Ms. Loeffler commended the Office of Law Enforcement for the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration for the investigation that led to the successful prosecution of this case.