Paul Blarr, the Williamsville, N.Y., jeweler charged with four felony counts for allegedly misrepresenting moissanite as diamonds, may have duped dozens of people, a local police captain tells JCK.
Capt. Enzio G. Villalta, chief of the Amherst Detective Bureau, says that he’s gotten more than 200 phone calls about the store, so it’s possible there may be a lot more victims, including his fellow police officers.
He adds that Blarr is also suspected of taking merchandise consigned to him and selling it at pawn shops, without telling the owners.
“And when people called him he would give them all sorts of excuses, but he didn’t return their items,” Villalta alleges.
He expects Blarr will face more charges in the case.
Blarr’s counsel, Charles J. Marchese, told The Buffalo News that his client, who owned RSNP Diamond Exchange, believed he was selling real diamonds.
“Mr. Blarr spent hundreds of thousands of dollars believing these diamonds were real,” Marchese told the newspaper. “We are cooperating with the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, and we’re going to try and make everyone whole. I’d ask people to be patient.”
Villalta counters that that is “hard to believe.”
“He says he’s a gemologist,” Villalta says. “He should know.”
Blarr formerly owned a store called Amherst Diamond Exchange. RNSP is now closed, and Blarr has not opened a planned new store.
The retailer was charged with three counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud, according to the Amherst Police Department’s Facebook page. He has pleaded not guilty, Villalta says.
Marchese did not return a call and email from JCK.