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Jewelry-Fraud Scheme Netted $570,000 in Goods from Retailers and Wholesalers

The culprit was sentenced to seven years, eight months in prison.

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ATLANTA – An Atlanta man has been sentenced for defrauding more than a dozen diamond and jewelry dealers and wholesalers nationwide.

Over the course of his scheme, Cory Smith attempted to defraud thes companies of nearly $1.2 million in diamonds and jewelry and successfully obtained nearly $570,000 in merchandise, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

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Smith, 32, was sentenced to seven years, eight months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $567,669.70. He was convicted of interstate transportation of stolen property on May 13 after he pleaded guilty.

“Smith repeatedly exploited the trust of diamond and jewelry dealers to defraud them,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Identifying Smith took the collective effort and cooperation of the victim retailers and wholesalers, commercial shippers, and local and federal law enforcement, and I commend their work.”

“A lot of hard working citizens were victimized by Smith in his elaborate scheme that cost them over a million dollars,” said Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta Chris Hacker. “His sentencing should serve as a warning that no matter how elaborate a scheme, investigating FBI agents are determined to protect American citizens against such crimes.”

“I am proud of the hard work and dedication that the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and detectives along with federal agents exemplified during this investigation. Make no mistake, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office will always cooperate with state and federal authorities to bring criminals to justice,” said Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler.

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Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: Beginning by November 2016 and continuing until September 2018, Smith and others conspired to defraud diamond and jewelry retailers and wholesalers by taking advantage of the fact that many transactions in the industry are done by memo financing.

Smith was alleged to have contacted jewelry and diamond suppliers across the U.S. and falsely representing that he was employed or affiliated with a well-known or established diamond or jewelry dealer. Smith would then direct that the merchandise in question be sent to an actual jewelry store in Georgia or elsewhere and typically provide the actual address of the detailer/retailer he was falsely purporting to represent. After receiving the tracking information for a particular shipment, Smith would then contact the shipper (i.e., UPS, FedEx) and have the shipment re-routed to a residential address or a FedEx or UPS facility or retail store near where the actual diamond/jewelry dealer he was falsely purporting to represent was located. Smith would thereafter arrange to have “runners” pick-up the shipment from the FedEx or UPS location or residential address.

Smith was alleged to have facilitated this process by making travel arrangements for the runners to travel from Atlanta to out-of-state locations, including North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, to pick up the packages containing the diamonds/jewelry. Over the course of the nearly two-year scheme, Smith defrauded more than a dozen diamond and jewelry wholesalers and retailers nationwide.

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

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Louis Vuitton to Sell Jewelry Made From World’s Second-Largest Diamond

The deal follows LVMH’s acquisition of Tiffany & Co.

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LVMH Sewelo Diamon

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE has entered a deal to sell jewelry made from the world’s second-largest diamond, known as the Sewelo diamond.

It’s a 1,758 carat gem that’s the size of a tennis ball.

Lucara Diamond Corp. announced a deal with LVMH and the HB Co., a diamond manufacturer from Antwerp, that will see the diamond cut into pieces and made into Louis Vuitton jewelry.

Bloomberg reports that LVMH “will likely create several extremely high-end pieces  to establish a sense of exclusivity.”

A price tag for the Sewelo has not been revealed. Yahoo Finance notes that it sold for $53 million in 2017.

The acquisition is further evidence of LVMH’s plans to grow its jewelry business, according to Bloomberg. It follows the company’s nearly $16 billion acquisition of Tiffany & Co.

The diamond was recovered from Lucara’s Karowe Diamond Mine in Botswana in April 2019.

According to a press release from Lucara:

Lucara will receive an up front non-material payment for the Sewelô and retain a 50% interest in the individual polished diamonds that result.

Further, 5% of all of the retail sales proceeds generated from this historic collection will be invested directly back into Botswana on community-based initiatives undertaken by Lucara.

Lucara CEO Eira Thomas said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Louis Vuitton, the famous luxury House, to transform the historic, 1,758 carat Sewelô, Botswana’s largest diamond, into a collection of fine jewellery that will commemorate this extraordinary discovery and contribute direct benefits to our local communities of interest in Botswana.”

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Karma Hits Hard as Bungling Thieves Lock Themselves in Jewelry Store During Robbery (Video)

A judge called the crime a ‘fiasco.’

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Security footage of a jewelry story robbery described as a “fiasco,” with the thieves briefly locking themselves in the business, is making the rounds on social media.

The bungling robbers struck the Ital Gold shop in Green Lanes, Haringey, north London, the BBC reports. The crime took place in April, but the video surfaced recently when Andrew Elliott, 32, was sentenced to seven years in prison for the robbery.

A store worker “was held in a headlock and dragged to the floor,” according to the BBC. She broke free and ran away, hitting a panic alarm and then hiding in the bathroom.

Footage of the heist has accumulated 1.3 million views on Twitter, Today.com reports.

In the clip, the suspects tried to flee but realized they were trapped, as the door wouldn’t open from the inside. One of the suspects thought to hit the “catch and release” button, according to Today.com. The thieves then repeatedly failed to hold the door for each other.

In sentencing Elliott, Judge Mark Dennis QC said, “This was a planned and organized robbery, however much of a fiasco the latter part of it turned out to be,” according to the BBC.

The three still managed to make off with $27,000 in jewelry. The other two suspects have yet to be identified.

Watch the BBC’s clip:

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Signet Stock Soars to Best Day in 27 Years Following Strong Holiday Results

Digital sales led the way.

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Signet Kay Jewelers

Signet Jewelers Ltd.’s share price soared on Thursday in the wake of strong holiday sales.

The stock saw it’s largest single-day gain in 27 years, climbing more than 40 percent, MarketWatch reports. It closed at $30.13 per share.

Signet (NYSE: SIG) on Dec. 5 predicted that same-store sales for its fourth-quarter, which ends in January, would be down between 2 percent and 4 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

But strong holiday sales prompted the retailer, whose brands include Jared, Kay Jewelers and Zales, to raise its guidance. It’s now predicting that same-store sales for the quarter will be up 0.1 percent.

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Digital sales have been particularly strong. For the nine weeks ending Jan. 4, they were up 13.5 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Brick-and-mortar sales were down 0.2 percent.

“Product newness, investments in our digital capabilities, and more targeted marketing campaigns drove both e-commerce and brick and mortar growth in North America,” Signet CEO Virginia Drosos was quoted saying.

Read more at the MarketWatch

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