A 46-year-old Montgomery County, Pa., man is accused of bilking the jewelry store where he worked out of as much as $50,000 and, in several cases, swapping genuine diamonds for fakes, The Intelligencer newspaper in Doylestown reports.
Robert Kimmel of Lower Gwynedd Township is alleged to have ordered jewelry from at least 17 companies that his employer, Maxine Nelson Jewelry in New Britian Township in Bucks County, did not normally do business. He is then accused of reselling the merchandise and sticking the jeweler with the bills, New Britain Township police reportedly said.
The store’s owner, Frank Moscatelli of Lansdale, did not have insurance to cover the fraudulent bills and, because his credit is now ruined, must pay for legitimate orders with cash upon delivery, the newspaper reports.
Kimmel, who police reportedly said conducted his scheme for seven years, faces six felony charges as well as a misdemeanor charge for allegedly replacing an heirloom diamond in a ring with a synthetic diamond. The ring’s owner discovered the forgery when she took the $7,500 ring to be appraised in Atlanta, police said.
Moscatelli, 64, also told police diamonds in five rings in the store’s display case were replaced with synthetic stones, the newspaper reports. The scheme began to unravel earlier this year when Moscatelli’s wife intercepted a call from a company seeking payment.
Moscatelli bought the store about three years ago and said Kimmel’s alleged behavior did not affect the general public because jewelry is appraised before it leaves the store, the newspaper reports. He purchased the family-run business, the last of three that once carried the Maxine Nelson name, to keep him busy in retirement.
Moscatelli reportedly told police Kimmel turned over some jewelry that he had ordered and kept at his home.
Kimmel was arrested Thursday on charges of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, retail theft, forgery, identity theft, and simulating objects of antiquity. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.
His was released on $40,000 bail from Bucks County jail, the newspaper reports. Kimmel’s preliminary hearing is set for July 13 before District Judge Robert E. Gaffney.