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Jewelry Store Owner Admits to Tax Evasion

He faces up to 5 years in prison.

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ALBUQUERQUE – A jewelry store owner in Albuquerque, NM, has pleaded guilty to a tax evasion charge.

David Castle, 76, owner and operator of the Gold and Silver Exchange, was indicted in February 2018 and  charged with obstructing the administration of the internal revenue laws and tax evasion.

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At sentencing, Castle faces a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release, a maximum fine of $250,000, and restitution. A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.

Count 1 of the indictment charged Castle with perpetuating a scheme to evade and defeat the assessment and payment of taxes to the U.S. from December 2004 through January 2018.

According to the indictment, Castle:

  • Used several nominee businesses to conduct GSE’s financial operations to hide income from the IRS.
  • Executed the scheme by using bank accounts belonging to the nominee businesses.
  • Concealed personal income and expenditures.
  • Engaged in cash transactions.
  • Employed and paid GSE personnel in cash that could not easily be connected to GSE’s business operations.
  • Deliberately failed to keep accurate business records reflecting GSE’s income and expenses.

Count 2 of the indictment alleged that from December 2008 through December 2017, Castle attempted to evade federal taxes for the years 1992-93, 1995-2002, 2005, and 2006 in the amount of $104,446.81. Castle is alleged to have committed this crime by:

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  • Concealing from the IRS the nature and location of his business revenue.
  • Placing funds in bank accounts belonging to nominee businesses.
  • Emphasizing cash operations in order to place the revenue beyond the reach of the legal process.
  • Failing to file personal and business income tax returns or by filing false or frivolous tax returns.

On Friday, Castle pleaded guilty to Count 2. In his plea agreement, Castle admitted that from 2010 through 2013, while he was the sole owner and operator of GSE, he filed no tax returns for his business, his business provided no tax withholdings to the IRS, and he paid no taxes either for his business or his household.

Castle acknowledged relying on cash transactions to operate GSE, and using bank accounts that appeared to be unassociated with GSE to conceal the business’s revenue. Castle agreed that his criminal conduct resulted in a tax loss of $211,829 during tax years 2010 through 2013.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Fashion Jewelry Chain to Close All 261 Stores

3,000 employees could lose their jobs.

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Jewelry and accessories retailer Charming Charlie is closing all of its 261 stores in connection with its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed July 11.

Bloomberg reports that over 3,000 full- and -part-time workers could lose their jobs.

The bankruptcy filing is Charming Charlie’s second in the past two year, Bloomberg reports.

Store closing sales are being conducted by a joint venture consisting of Hilco Merchant Resources and SB360 Capital Partners, according to a press release.

Charming Charlie operates in 38 states. A full list of closing stores is available here.

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The liquidation is expected to take two months.

The company’s debt totals $82 million, according to Bloomberg. Its cash on hand amounted to only $6,000  as of the bankruptcy filing.

Charming Charlie is a Houston-based specialty retailer focused on fashion jewelry, handbags, apparel, gifts and beauty products.

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Serena Williams Wears the Most Unusual Ear Jewelry in Harper’s Bazaar Feature

Can you even call it an earring?

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A new Serena Williams feature in Harper’s Bazaar is sure to attract attention.

The tennis player insisted that the photos be unretouched, and the cover shot features her mostly exposed backside.

But what might be most interesting to jewelers is the unique ear ornament she wore in one of the photos. We’re not even sure you can call this Gucci accessory an earring.

Could this over-the-ear look catch on?

INSTORE style writer Becky Stone doesn’t think so, although she likes the concept.

“I can hear the siren song of this piece! It takes the concept of jewelry adorning the body and elevates it by having the jewel actually become the body,” Stone said. “The look is surprising, sensual, and playful – an appealing combination. Serena looks like she might be a golden robot from the future, and I’m into it.

“That being said, I think there are a lot of practical barriers to the gilded ear’s mainstream appeal. Can she hear? Is her ear sweaty? How does that thing even stay on? I imagine it would have to be custom fitted, which is probably enough to price it out of the possibility of true street style success. I’d be very interested to see a scaled down version: maybe a smaller cuff that fits over just the upper cartilage, or a closely fitted lobe piece that’s anchored with a post for wearability.”

Beth Bernstein, also an INSTORE style writer, also felt the look was unlikely to take off.

“It might work for an editorial shoot or a runway show, but I don’t believe it will ever make it as a trend for even the high-end,” she said. “It kind of looks like the ‘Joker’s Mask’ for the ear.”

Jewelry professionals posting in our INSTORE Community group on Facebook had a variety of reactions.

Deirdre Crosse of Cipher Gems wrote, “Serena Williams requires an extraordinary design for it to register with the viewer. It’s a bold choice of adornment for strong subject.”

Deric Metzger, owner of DeMer Jewelry, commented, “This is the ear climber trend taken to its maximum natural conclusion and it’s every bit as unpleasant as I imagined.”

Other jewelry that Williams wore for the photoshoot included Cartier earrings, a Bulgari bracelet, a David Yurman bracelet and chain and an Audemars Piguet watch.

The photos appear with an essay penned by Williams about standing up for herself and becoming the strong woman, athlete and mother she is today. The issue will be available on newsstands July 23.

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Jewelry Retail Chain to Repay Workers Up to $17.5M

A review found that they were underpaid.

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Australia-based jewelry retailer Michael Hill plans to pay staff members up to a total of $25 million AUD (US $17.5 million) to make up for underpayments that occurred over several years.

The review was initiated by CEO Daniel Bracken and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Yahoo Finance reports. The review found a “historic misapplication” of the retail industry award rate, mandated by Australia’s federal government, for some staff members in Australia.

Rapaport News quoted Bracken saying, “When we identified there was an issue, I mobilized a team, supported by independent external experts, to determine the scale of the problem, identify the individuals affected, and to ensure full compliance with the award going forward.

“We will move as quickly as possible to rectify any underpayments with those team members affected.”

The total cost of the repayment is expected to be between AUD $10 million and AUD $25 million, according to Yahoo Finance.

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Michael Hill has about 2,600 employees in 312 stores throughout Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The company announced in April 2018 that it was closing its nine U.S. stores after failing to find a buyer for them.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

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