Owner of “Arctic Treasures” Indicted for Misrepresentation of Goods and Violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that Lee John Screnock, 58, of Anchorage, d.b.a. “Arctic Treasures,” has been charged with one count of misrepresentation of Indian produced goods and products, and two counts alleging violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
According to the indictment, beginning at an unknown time and ending no later than June 2018, Screnock allegedly offered, displayed for sale, and sold goods in a manner that falsely suggested that it was Indian produced, an Indian product, and the product of a particular Indian or Indian tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization. As alleged in the indictment, Screnock fraudulently represented hundreds of items for sale in his business as being carved by Alaskan Native artisans when he had in fact carved them himself. The indictment further alleges that Screnock violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act by knowingly offering illegal wildlife parts for sale, including a polar bear skull and a walrus oosik.
If convicted, Screnock faces a maximum of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Alexander.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.