International Criminal in My Own Backyard

Yes, it's true. This past week I've been fairly involved, offering moral support and doing a bit of sleuthing because one of the lampworking artists on LampworkEtc.com, where I spend a good deal of time sharing and learning, discovered that several members of our community had been victims of fraud.

The whole thing has unraveled into something resembling one of those bizarre late night crime shows.

A popular (alleged) lampworker on Etsy, it was discovered, has been buying up large quantities of beads on eBay and directly from lampworkers online and at shows, then breaking sets up into singles and small sets and reselling them at shows and on Etsy for a profit, claiming they're the work of her own hands from her Milan, Italy studio (while simultaneously claiming on another Etsy shop that she was a pastry chef in Texas).

Once the discovery was made, artists from all over came forward to identify their beads, and their work was verified in many cases by the wonderful paper trail of eBay's sold items and from their own photo archives. It was a bit of a shock, to say the least, that someone would have the brass to claim other's work as her own on a venue like Etsy, but she'd done it dozens of times. Sadly, although multiple complaints from those whose work she claimed as her own were submitted to Etsy, her Etsy bead shop is still open.

Her face should be on an FBI wanted poster for internet fraud.

A lot of people were hurt, their good reputations and talents used by this person. But ironically, where compost is thrown, flowers do indeed bloom when the light of the sun shines. From our online community of LampworkEtc.com, word spread to the self-representing jewelry designers' community and to IndiePublic. People started coming to read and to ask, who really made the beads I bought from Ullja?

It was an amazing and beautiful thing to see. The world is so big, but when people reach out, it's small enough that a designer wanting to put a name to a set of beads she'd designed her jewelry around could come and find The Truth.

Shut down by Etsy again!

Apparently Ullja and/or her mother Melek pulled the tried-and-true (on Etsy anyway) shyster method of opening shop on a Friday, because there is no one watching Etsy on the weekend and shady sellers can squeeze out a few sales over the weekend before Etsy staff can follow up on the flagged stores.

Enough alerts were mailed to Etsy over the weekend that they took action and closed her new shop pretty fast. Yay, Etsy! It's nice to know you're listening.

It's now confirmed that Ullja's operations HQ is at Mommy Melek's house in Texas, and it's unknown if Ullja is actually running the business or just having Mommy try to unload her bead inventory.

Whichever it is, there's a brand-spanking new website selling lots of the beads we've already seen in their inventory, plus glass beads they're passing off as gemstone, so it looks they're planning to stick around.

Their new website:
www.beadsnsupplies.com

Their new identities are passed around as fast as they're found, so the artisans who made the beads Ullja formerly listed on Etsy won't be selling to her again.

She's back!

It seems amazing that Etsy would let Ullja back after she so blatantly broke their rules (not to mention her outright illegal activities like postal fraud and other retaliatory acts like filing false spam claims against several lampworkers in an attempt to get our sites shut down)... but now it appears bygones are bygones and Ullja is back on Etsy reselling other lampworkers' beads.

The big difference you can see if you visit her shop at http://Beads4u2.etsy.com is that she no longer claims to be making the beads herself.

She's also selling her old inventory, purchased on eBay and as orphan lots from the original artisans, at a huge mark-up. Her customers would be much better off buying direct from the artisan lampworkers who made the beads, like http://JustMade.etsy.com who actually made the bulk of the beads that Ullja (or her mother as her U.S. representative) has her new shop stocked with.

The return of Ullja and Melek

Exactly! I can't believe Etsy would be irresponsible enough to let her come back!

Ullja's response on June 24th blog entry

How sad that Ullja is enjoying this:

http://ulljas.blogspot.com/

Yes, but interesting how

Yes, but interesting how much she edited her post between yesterday and today. It looks like things aren't working out quite like she hoped, because she's not getting lampworker websites shut down as she gloated she was.

Her blog post is meant to frighten the lampworkers who have reported her for fraud and to try to silence the exchange of information. That's all.

Ullja responds

I love it that she admits buying all the beads. She seems to have forgotten that she also claimed to have made them when she resold them on Etsy.
http://ulljas.blogspot.com

And yes, her claim regarding targeting lampworkers is true. She's trying to get our web site hosts to shut us down for making false accusations, and has succeeded in one case by making a false report against the lampworker for spamming.

She has also made a serious accusation against the owner of LampworkEtc.com. According to Ullja, the owner "KNOWINGLY provided her website to her group of members to defame me and my business with false accusations." Well, LampworkEtc.com has been around a long time, and the lampworkers there talk about all kinds of things. Posts dealing with the fraudulent claims made my Ullja probably make up a slim fraction of a percent of all the posts on that site. The phrase "KNOWINGLY provided her website to her group of members to defame me and my business with false accusations" implies that the owner had an agenda in setting up the site to target Ullja.

Update

The website that Ullja bragged she'd had shut down is back online after investigation proved Ullja's allegations false. It's really a shame that she took advantage of the host's no-spam policy to get an innocent lampworker's web site taken offline for several hours, but the Truth, again, prevails in the end.

Update on Ullja's Etsy shop

Ullja's bakery shop on Etsy was closed shortly after the kitchen inspector of the good State of Texas investigated a complaint and concluded that Ullja was not holding a current permit for a food services establishment since she closed her Waco, Texas bakery last fall.

Ullja's bead shop on Etsy was brick-walled yesterday.

Other blogs with posts on this subject:
Unofficial Etsy News
a post by one of Ullja's victims
a post from another of Ullja's victims
Etsy Bitch links to proof of the fraud

Awesome post!! :)

Awesome post!! :)

Thank you

Thank you for the support, for mentioning this in your blog. The more exposure it gets, the more likely it won't happen as often.

Thanks again!
Twiggy

Someone with the name

Someone with the name Beads4u is on Artfire.com. Is this the same person?

Yes, that's Ullja's shop.

Yes, that's Ullja's shop.

Ullja Bakery and games

shes back with her antics and new "bakery opening with a License"
you can find the hoopla as it hit the fan here:
http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=Chatterbox&file=viewtopic&forum=...

since Ullja's account was

since Ullja's account was shut down, I think her actual comments are gone, but the replies to her are still there and should be read with the understanding that people are responding to some really negative attacks from her.

She's been busted on artfire as of today.

I promised Michelle that if I could stop her from selling on AF I would. Well let's just say, she did all the work for me. Take a look!

http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?mop=modload&name=Chatterbox&file=view...

it's good to see that

it's good to see that ArtFire has things under control and isn't putting up with the abuse Ullja's been dishing out. it's difficult to believe someone can be that hateful when she was the one committing fraud!