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Signet to Close Manufacturing Plant, Lay Off 122

The jobs will be cut by May 24.

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Signet Jewelers Ltd. plans to close a manufacturing plant in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The closure will mean the loss of 122 jobs, the Dallas Business Journal reports.

“We have evaluated consolidation in key areas of our business, seeking to understand production capacity, cost and efficiency across our operations and distribution,” David Bouffard, Signet’s vice president for corporate affairs, told the publication.

The north Texas employees will be laid off by May 24. Operations will be transferred to existing locations in Akron, OH, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

However, Signet continues to maintain operations in north Texas, where it has more than 700 employees.

In February, media reports said Signet was making buyout offers to 2,600 employees in Fairlawn, OH, and 800 in Dallas as part of a cost-cutting effort.

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Employees of the company’s stores, which operate under the Kay, Zales, Jared and Piercing Pagoda brands, were reportedly not eligible for the program.

Bouffard said at the time that the headcount reductions were designed “to fund the critical investments we need in our transformation plan,” according to Crain’s Cleveland Business.

If not enough employees signed up for the “voluntary transition program,” layoffs would be necessary, company officials said.

The company also said it was deferring merit pay increases for Store Support Center employees in Fairlawn and Dallas, Crain’s reported.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal

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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2 Accused of Selling Counterfeit Pandora Jewelry in $2M Fraud Case

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BALTIMORE, MD – A federal grand jury has indicted two residents of Covina, CA, on a federal conspiracy charge, mail fraud, and trafficking in counterfeit goods.

They’re accused of importing and selling counterfeit Pandora jewelry and Ray-Ban sunglasses in a $2 million-plus fraud scheme. Xiaoying Xu, age 34, a Chinese citizen, and Yiwen Zhu, age 34, a Chinese citizen and legal permanent resident of the U.S., allegedly conspired with others to defraud e-commerce customers in the scheme.

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“These defendants allegedly imported counterfeit goods from China and sold them as legitimate merchandise using the registered trademarks of legitimate companies,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Those who traffic in counterfeit goods are committing a crime which results in American jobs lost, American business profits stolen, and American consumers tricked into receiving substandard products.”

The crimes are alleged to have occurred from August 2016 through approximately April 2019, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

The indictment alleges that the defendants used their residence and offices in El Monte and Alhambra, CA, as destination points for shipments of counterfeit goods shipped from Hong Kong and China. Xu and Zhu allegedly repackaged the counterfeit goods, then mailed them to unsuspecting customers throughout the U.S. who believed they had purchased authentic goods.

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The defendants allegedly used fraudulent accounts set up with e-commerce marketplace companies to sell the counterfeit goods. Xu and Zhu allegedly obtained funds from the victims through fraudulently acquired customer accounts opened in the names of other people at a global online payment company. The online payment company sent the victims’ money to Xu and Zhu by electronic transfer to bank accounts or by check, which the defendants then cashed at ATMs, according to the press release. The indictment alleges that the defendants then transferred the proceeds of the scheme from their bank accounts to other bank accounts opened in the names of other Chinese nationals.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and traffic in counterfeit goods; a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of six counts of mail fraud; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of six counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods. The defendants are expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California. No court appearance has been scheduled yet in Maryland.

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Headlines

2 Accused of Selling Counterfeit Pandora Jewelry in $2M Fraud Case

They allegedly defrauded e-commerce customers.

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Published

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A federal grand jury has indicted two residents of Covina, CA, on a federal conspiracy charge, mail fraud, and trafficking in counterfeit goods.

They’re accused of importing and selling counterfeit Pandora Jewelry and Ray-Ban sunglasses. Xiaoying Xu, age 34, a Chinese citizen, and Yiwen Zhu, age 34, a Chinese citizen and legal permanent resident of the U.S., allegedly conspired with others to defraud e-commerce customers, obtaining more than $2 million in the scheme.

Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store
Headlines

Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store

Video: No, I Won’t Help You Commit Fraud … But Thanks for Throwing Water in My Face
Cullen Wulf

Video: No, I Won’t Help You Commit Fraud … But Thanks for Throwing Water in My Face

Video: When Should a Jeweler Fire Someone?
Jimmy Degroot

Video: When Should a Jeweler Fire Someone?

“These defendants allegedly imported counterfeit goods from China and sold them as legitimate merchandise using the registered trademarks of legitimate companies,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Those who traffic in counterfeit goods are committing a crime which results in American jobs lost, American business profits stolen, and American consumers tricked into receiving substandard products.”

The crimes are alleged to have occurred from about August 2016 until approximately April 2019, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

The indictment alleges that the defendants used their residence and offices in El Monte and Alhambra, CA, as destination points for shipments of counterfeit goods shipped from Hong Kong and China. Xu and Zhu allegedly repackaged the counterfeit goods, then mailed them to unsuspecting customers throughout the U.S.

The defendants allegedly used fraudulent accounts set up with e-commerce marketplace companies to sell the goods, misrepresenting to customers that they were authentic. Xu and Zhu obtained funds from the victims of the counterfeit scheme through fraudulently acquired customer accounts opened in the names of other people at a global online payment company, according to the release.

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The online payment company sent the victims’ money to Xu and Zhu by electronic transfer to bank accounts or by check, which the defendants then cashed at ATMs, the release states. The indictment alleges that the defendants then transferred the proceeds of the scheme from their bank accounts to other bank accounts opened in the names of other Chinese nationals.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and traffic in counterfeit goods; a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of six counts of mail fraud; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of six counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods.

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News Report Reveals Sordid Details of Alleged Sexual Harassment At Signet

It’s based on interviews with dozens of female former employees.

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A New York Times report reveals salacious details related to allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination within Signet’s Sterling Jewelers business.

The story, titled “The Company That Sells Love to America Had a Dark Secret,” is based on interviews with dozens of female former employees.

Some of the employees described being repeatedly passed over for promotions in favor of men, according to the article by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Others said they’d been sexually harassed.

One woman told the writer that a district manager coerced her into sex in exchange for a transfer she wanted.

A rape accusation is also described.

INSTORE reported in March 2017 that about 250 former employees of Sterling, which operates Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Kay Jewelers and Zales, were alleging that the company culture was rife with sexual discrimination and harassment. The claims were part of an arbitration case that dates to 2008.

Litigation is still ongoing.

In response to the New York Times story, Signet released a statement saying: “We’re disappointed that The New York Times decided to publish an article primarily based on decades-old allegations, and we believe casts our company unfairly. Signet is a recognized leader among companies for gender diversity, with women making up 74 percent of store management positions and full gender parity in both the [senior executive suite] and board of directors. Under the leadership of our CEO Gina Drosos, we are undeterred in our ongoing mission to champion diversity and inclusion as a strategic priority and in our multi-year business transformation plan.”

Read more at The New York Times 

 

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