Connect with us

Headlines

Jewelers to Pay $16,000 in Restitution for Scheme Targeting Military Families

They were convicted last year.

mm

Published

on

SACRAMENTO, CA – A California jeweler must pay restitution in connection with a scheme targeting military families.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered defendants Ramil Abalkhad, owner of Romano’s Jewelers, and Melina Abalkhad, owner of MBNB Financial Inc., to pay the victims $16,440.56 by May 4, 2020.

4 Dead After Jewelry-Store Robbery Leads to Police Chase and Shootout (Video)
Headlines

4 Dead After Jewelry-Store Robbery Leads to Police Chase and Shootout (Video)

Truck Slams Jewelry Store in $200,000 Burglary — Watch the Video
Headlines

Truck Slams Jewelry Store in $200,000 Burglary — Watch the Video

Video: How to Achieve a $100,000 Day in Your Jewelry Store
Headlines

Video: How to Achieve a $100,000 Day in Your Jewelry Store

“Individuals who participate in despicable crimes by targeting our young men and women in uniform will pay the price,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “We hope today’s announcement brings healing and closure to the victims of this scheme. Our office will continue to protect all Californians from all types of fraud – large or small. The California Department of Justice will always have the backs of our military families.”

Romano’s Jewelers had several retail locations in California, including stores near Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, according to a press release from Becerra’s office. The Abalkhads were alleged to have targeted young Marines and sailors, encouraging the purchase of jewelry using MBNB Financial for credit. According to the criminal complaint, Ramil Abalkhad failed to provide legally required disclosures about monthly payments, interest rates and others terms of financing.

Those customers who fell behind on their payments were allegedly harassed by the defendants’ debt collectors. In addition, the complaint alleged that Romano’s Jewelers used debt collectors who falsely posed as attorneys and illegally threatened servicemembers with court martial and other military disciplinary actions.

Advertisement

The California Department of Justice filed a 14-count felony complaint charging the defendants with conspiracy to violate the Unruh Act, which protects consumers who buy goods or services on credit, and the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which protects Californians against unlawful debt collection practices.

Becerra announced the sentencing of the defendants in December 2018. Ramil Abalkhad was sentenced to three years of felony probation, including a requirement that he serve 90 days in jail.

He will also be required to cancel outstanding MBNB debts owed by the victims identified in the criminal complaint and was also ordered to remove any negative credit reporting by MBNB from the victims’ credit history.

Melina Abalkhad was sentenced to complete a misdemeanor diversion program for her role in operating Romano’s Jewelers affiliate MBNB Financial.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

Having a Moving Sale? Let Wilkerson Do the Heavy Lifting

For Jim Woodard, owner of Woodard’s Diamonds & Design in Tullahoma, Tenn., when it was time for a moving sale, there was only one company to help with the event: Wilkerson. “They brought in the right team for us,” he says, remarking about the sale’s extraordinary results, including a nearly 500% monthly sales increase compared to the previous year. “I wanted to have the best in the industry. And that’s the main reason why I contacted Wilkerson.”

Promoted Headlines

Headlines

Kate Middleton Shows Off Mysterious New Diamond Ring

Observers of the royal family don’t recognize the piece.

mm

Published

on

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, appeared at a public event last week wearing a piece of jewelry previously unknown to observers of the royal family.

On her right ring finger, opposite the well-known sapphire and diamond engagement ring she wears on her right hand, was a large diamond ring, Town & Country. The occasion was the Diplomatic Corps Reception at Buckingham Palace.

The duchess also wore the Lover’s Knot Tiara, a piece that dates to 1913 and which was favored by the late Princess Diana.

In photos, it’s hard to see the exact design of the new ring. Town & Country writes that it’s “unclear at this point if it is a wholly new design, something from the royal collection, or perhaps existing stones fashioned into something bespoke for Kate.”

Read more at Town & Country

 

Continue Reading

Headlines

Uncut Gems Features Adam Sandler as a Jeweler and May Be His ‘Best Work Ever’ (with Video)

It hits theaters today.

mm

Published

on

Uncut Gems, which features Adam Sandler as a jeweler, hits theaters today, and critics say it might his best work yet.

In a review for Entertainment Weekly, Darren Franich calls Sandler’s performance “loud and meaningful, hyperbolic yet terribly human.”

In the film from Josh and Benny Safdie, Sandler plays Howard Ratner, described on the movie’s official website as “a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score.”

“When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win,” according to the site.

Franich gives the movie an A-, noting that Sandler “exudes the self-lacerating melancholy familiar from his acclaimed dramatic work in Punch-Drunk Love and The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).” In a headline, Entertainment Weekly says the film may be Sandler’s “best work ever.”

The New York Times, meanwhile, rates the movie as a “Critic’s Pick.” Reviewer

Watch the trailer below.

Read more at Entertainment Weekly

Continue Reading

Headlines

Sales Remain Strong, But Jewelers Moderate Expectations a Bit for 2019 Holiday Season

45% of jewelers in our survey say the season is in line with their projections.

mm

Published

on

JEWELERS TEMPERED THEIR expectations for the 2019 holiday season as we entered the second week of December with about one in four store owners telling an INSTORE Mini Survey they had fallen behind target. That compared to just 14 percent who were similarly downbeat following a robust Black Friday opening.

Overall, sales were still strong though. Seven percent of jewelers said they were having a “terrific” season so far, 24 percent said it was better than expected and 45 percent said it was in line with their projections.

“Traffic is up but I was expecting higher traffic as this is our fourth Christmas and have really increased sales over the last year,” said Christopher Sarich, the owner of Noah Gabriel & Co. Jewelers in Wexford, PA.

Tickets continued to be strong with more than a third of jewelers saying their average sale was over $600, while a similar portion of store owners said their store traffic was up over last year (see charts below).

Diamond sales of all kinds — bridal, studs, design, fashion and lab-grown — continued to do well with almost half of the jewelers in our survey citing diamond jewelry as their best-selling item. Custom was also doing well.

“Custom! Everything from scratch to customized assembly,” said Jennifer Farnes, owner of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO.

Given the overall health of the economy and consumers’ appetite for jewelry, this could also be a good season to move aged inventory, suggested Jill Hornik, owner of Jae’s Jewelers in Coral Gables, FL.

“This is the perfect time for an inventory reduction sale to get rid of old stock. We put over 200 items over 5 years old into our case normally designated for a silver designer, and have made 31 times the revenue we normally would within that same case space.”

The second 2019 Holiday Season Mini survey was taken on Monday by 112 independent jewelers who are part of our Brain Squad readers group. We will send out more surveys over the course of the holiday season. Look out for the results each Tuesday.

Continue Reading

Most Popular