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Jeweler Sentenced for $3.5M Investment Scheme

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He’s headed to prison for 41 months.

CHARLOTTE, NC – A Charlotte jeweler has been sentenced to 41 months in prison in connection with a $3.5 million investment scheme involving jewelry, precious metals and gemstones.

Benjamin Abraham, 60, was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release and to pay more than $2 million in restitution, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina.

The sentence issued by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. was for wire fraud, according to the release.

Abraham operated a number of businesses engaged in the wholesale and retail sale of diamonds, precious metals and jewelry, including Benjamin Diamonds LLC, Benjamin Jewelers LLC, Global Trading LLC and G&I USA LLC.

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From at least December 2012 through May 2017, Abraham executed a financial fraud scheme involving investments in jewelry, precious metals and gemstones, among other things, and induced at least seven victim-investors to invest over $3.5 million, resulting in losses of more than $2 million, authorities said. 

To induce his victims to fund the investment scheme, show that Abraham made a number of fraudulent representations, including that the victims’ money would be used for short-term investments in gold or other precious metals, to invest in diamonds and jewelry obtained from estates, and to buy other large diamonds which would be sold for profit, according to authorities. Abraham was also alleged to have lied to investors about his past successes and profits from engaging in such investments, misrepresented the security of the investments and made false representations about the rate of return and the duration of the investments.

At times, Abraham also falsely represented that he had unique access to estate sales due to his connections and that he would be also be investing his own money, authorities said. Court records state that when victims asked about the status of their investments, Abraham gave numerous false explanations, and, at times, provided victims with checks from accounts that he knew did not have sufficient funds to cover the checks and continued to lie when he was confronted about the dishonored checks.

According to court records, rather than invest the victims’ money as promised, Abraham used it to fund his lifestyle, to keep his struggling businesses afloat, to pay pre-existing debts, and to make Ponzi-style payments to other victim-investors.

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