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Jewelry Distributor to Plead Guilty in $5M Fraud Case

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He could spend up to 5 years in prison.

The owner of a jewelry business in Johnston, RI, is set to plead guilty in connection with a multi-million-dollar fraud scheme, according to news reports.

Court documents indicate that Gerald Kent plans to admit to counts of aggravated identity theft along with wire fraud as part of a plea deal, WPRI-TV reports. The news outlet writes that in return, “prosecutors will recommend no more than 60 months in prison and a reduction in offense level.”

Kent was accused of orchestrating a fraud 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 July press release.

Kent’s company is called Kent Jewelry and “is largely in the business of selling jewelry over the internet using websites such as Groupon.com and Zulily.com,” according to a court document.

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 was alleged to have:

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

Read more at WPRI-TV

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Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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