Charles Hush, former owner of the now-closed Jewelry Refinery in Dublin, Ohio (pictured), has been charged with 36 counts of theft for allegedly not paying customers for jewelry he took on consignment.
“It is alleged that between October 18, 2014, through May 3, 2016, victims would bring various forms of jewelry to the store to sell,” said Ron O’Brien, prosecuting attorney for Franklin County, Ohio, in a statement. “Hush would agree to sell the jewelry on a consignment basis where he would keep a percentage from the sale. Hush was selling the jewelry but not giving any of the proceeds of the sales to the victims.”
O’Brien added that there are three dozen alleged victims involved in the case, and their ages run from 25 to 86. He said the total amount of jewelry involved is believed to top $300,000.
Hush has been charged with one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, 26 counts of theft, and 10 counts of theft from a person in a protected class, for a total of 37 counts.
According to a report on local TV news station ABC 6, the public defender for the former jeweler entered a plea of not guilty to the charges during Hush’s initial arraignment on Friday.
Hush has seemingly been in the crosshairs of law enforcement for nearly two years. In May 2016, ABC 6 first broadcast an exposé charging that Hush had taken jewelry from about a dozen customers and had not paid them back.
Hush told the the reporter that he had “lost” a bag of jewelry, though, upon questioning, admitted he had not reported the loss to the local police and couldn’t get repaid by insurance.
He later added, “Everyone of my unsatisfied customers will get paid, every cent that is owed them.… I’m very sorry for my mistake.”
His store closed down one week later.
Neither Hush or his attorney could be reached for comment at press time.
Image from Yelp