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Michigan Jeweler Pleads Guilty in $12M Wire Fraud Case

Sentencing is set for January.

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A Michigan jewelry buyer, auctioneer and appraiser has pleaded guilty in connection with a fraud case.

Joseph Gregory Dumouchelle, 58, admitted to one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith. He is the owner of Joseph DuMouchelle Fine & Estate Jewellers in Birmingham, MI.

Sentencing has been set for Jan. 13.

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In late 2018, Dumouchelle began negotiating the purchase and sale of a diamond known as the “Yellow Rose,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. The 77-carat diamond was owned by an estate in Texas.

Dumouchelle proposed the Yellow Rose as an investment opportunity to a client, “TR,” by claiming that the it could be purchase by TR for $12 million and sold for substantially more, according to the release. TR was identified in the criminal complaint as Thomas Ritter, a North Dakota resident, Crain’s Detroit Business reports.

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In an effort to lull Ritter into believing the investment was legitimate, Dumouchelle told Ritter he could purchase the diamond by transferring $12 million into the seller’s account, authorities said. Dumouchelle was accused of sending the wire transfer directions to Ritter, falsely representing that the account was the seller’s. In fact, the wire transfer instructions were to his own account. After Ritter unknowingly wired the money into Dumouchelle’s account, Dumouchelle quickly withdrew the funds and used them to pay his personal and business debts and expenses, according to authorities.

As part of the plea agreement with the government Dumouchelle “acknowledges that there are other victims of his scheme to obtain money by means of false and fraudulent material pretenses and representation and that their losses will be included as relevant conduct in calculating his sentencing guidelines and by the court in ordering restitution,” according to the release.

“White collar criminals may use sophisticated methods and apparently legitimate businesses, but their crimes amount to nothing more than stealing other people’s money,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider. “Dumouchelle lured his victims into believing his false promises because he held himself out to be an expert with valuable connections that would earn the victims substantial profits, but it was all a lie.”

Steven M. D’Antuono, special agent in charge of the FBI in Michigan, said Dumouchelle “defrauded his investors by convincing them that he was buying and selling rare jewelry for big profits.”

“It was all a lie,” he said. “Instead, Dumouchelle used the victims’ hard-earned money to help him maintain a lifestyle he could no longer afford. This case represents excellent collaboration between the Birmingham Police Department and the FBI’s Detroit Metropolitan Identity Theft and Financial Crimes Task Force.”

 

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