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Jewelry Distributor Headed to Prison in $3.6M Fraud Case

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He was sentenced to 48 months.

The owner of a jewelry business in Johnston, RI, has been sentenced to 48 months in prison in connection with a multi-million-dollar fraud scheme.

Gerald Kent, 52, of Groton, CT, admitted that he executed a fraud scheme while selling his company’s jewelry on the internet, primarily using websites such as Groupon.com and Zulily.com. Kent, owner and operator of Kent Jewelry, formerly located in Johnston, RI, pleaded guilty on Dec. 20 to one count each of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Kent was also ordered to serve three years supervised release after he completes his prison time. He will also have to pay $3.6 million in restitution.

 Kent was accused of orchestrating a scheme that defrauded a debtor finance company of more than $3.6 million dollars, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island said in a press release.

Authorities alleged that Kent submitted fraudulent invoices to a factoring (debtor finance) company based in Chicago, mostly from Groupon and Zulily, which resulted in payments to Kent of nearly $5 million dollars.

He admitted to:

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  • Creating hundreds of fraudulent invoices.
  • Creating a fraudulent clone of Groupon’s site.
  • Enlisting coconspirators to pose as Groupon employees.
  • Opening bank accounts in the names of Groupon and Zulily in order to deceive the debtor finance company.

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