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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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