Twelve New Jersey jewelers have been cited for allegedly violating laws regarding customer trade-ins for gold jewelry.
The 171 state civil complaints follow “Operation Going for Gold,” which sent jewelry-selling undercover officers into 12 Wayne County-based retail stores, mostly at local exchanges, and observed whether they were following local ordinances.
Among the offenses the jewelers were cited for: Allegedly failing to obtain ID from the seller; failing to issue receipts; failing to post prices offered for precious metals; and failing to test the fineness of the precious metals in plain view of the seller.
Jewelers Vigilance Committee president and CEO Cecilia Gardner tells JCK she isn’t surprised to hear about the crackdown.
“The IRS is examining jewelers in droves,” she says. “I get calls every week.”
“As the JVC has said many times, there are state and local laws that apply to the business of purchasing gold from the public,” she continues. “These laws must be complied with. Furthermore, jewelers who buy gold must comply with the USA Patriot Act. Not complying with that is potentially even more problematic, if you wind up buying gold from someone who is laundering money.”
A statement noted that New Jersey law requires, among other things, that buyers collect IDs from sellers; weigh metals within clear sight of the seller, using a scale certified by the state’s Office of Weights and Measures; post signs clearly showing the prices paid; and offer receipts. Click here for a poster with the rules.
Each state violation carries a maximum penalty of $500. The Wayne Township municipal code violations each carry a potential penalty of up to $2,000, as well as up to 90 days incarceration, or 90 days community service.
“Our laws protect consumers, by helping to ensure transparency by jewelers who price, weigh, and evaluate the precious metals brought in by individuals seeking to sell them,” New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said in a statement. “Jewelers who fail to comply with these laws will be held accountable.”
The investigation was conducted by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, State Office of Weights and Measures, and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.