An Anchorage man was sentenced to five years probation after being found guilty of illegally marketing items he sold as being made by an Alaska Native artist.
On March 10, 2021, a U.S. district judge sentenced Lee Screnock, 60, to pay $2,500 in restitution, and surrender more than $125,000 in retail product.
According to a joint news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Screnock was charged with a felony violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.
The law makes it illegal to falsely market products as Native-made. Screnock was also charged with a misdemeanor violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
According to the release, the charges stem from 2015 when Screnock owned the Arctic Treasures gift shop in downtown Anchorage. He sold a polar bear skull to an undercover agent of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
In 2017, undercover agents visited Screnock’s store again and asked about carvings. Screnock told the agents that an Alaska Native artist from Point Hope made them, but the carvings were actually made by Screnock.
During his probation, Screnock will be prohibited from working with animal products.