Former Fred Leighton Owner Arrested

Ralph Esmerian, former owner of legendary jeweler Fred Leighton and well-known rare jewels
dealer, has been arrested for fraud in conjunction with the company’s Chapter 11 filing.

Counts include bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets, and
wire fraud.

A complaint,
filed by U.S. postal inspectors, alleges that, following Fred Leighton’s  2008 bankruptcy, “Esmerain repeatedly
and systematically embezzled property belonging to Fred Leighton and other
debtor entities, sold it, and converted the proceeds for his own use.”

Esmerian bought Fred Leighton in 2006. The company filed
for bankruptcy in 2008
. A year later, it was purchased
by jewelry manufacturer Kwiat.

“Ralph Esmerian has no association with our company
whatsoever, and this has no impact on us,” says current CEO Greg Kwiat.

Esmerian could not be reached for comment.  According to news reports, he is due in
Manhattan court Monday Nov. 22.