Industry / Legal

Jewelers, Dealer Sentenced For Helping Fence Stolen Jewels


Two jewelry store owners, a New York City dealer, and two other men have been sentenced for assisting a plot to fence stolen jewels, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.

The jewels were stolen by a 20-person gang that regularly conducted robberies of traveling salespeople, one of which ended in a homicide. The criminals involved in that gang have since been arrested.

Three men charged in the fencing scheme—Romelio Rivieron, Elkin Acosta Lopez, and Harrinson Corredor—have all previously pled guilty in a conspiracy to launder money.

Lopez admitted that he regularly flew from his hometown in Bogota, Colombia, to Texas in order to purchase stolen jewelry from the robbers. In March 2018, FBI agents arrested Lopez at a New York City airport upon his entry into the country from Bogota. He was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay $1.3 million.

Corredor, a New York City resident who went by the name Mono, admitted he connected Lopez with the robbers and helped broker the sales of the stolen goods. On one occasion, he gave one of the robbers a bag of cash in exchange for several stolen Rolex watches. He admitted he knew the jewelry was stolen and that he took a portion of the proceeds. He was ordered to serve 68 months in prison and pay $1.7 million in restitution.

Rivieron, a former owner of jewelry stores and pawn shops, admitted he traveled from his Miami home to Texas and other states to purchase stolen diamonds from the robbers. According to the government, he would purchase them far below market value, paying in cash. He was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution.

Rubenhay Pinkhasov, the owner of a Miami jewelry store, pled guilty in 2019 to one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods worth at least $1 million across state lines. He was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution.

As part of the charges against him, Pinkhasov admitted that he “avoided creating an effective anti-money laundering policy, did not file currency transaction reports, and attempted to keep the illegal deals ‘off the books.’”

The dealer he sold them to, Yuri Alishaev, pled guilty to concealing a felony and was sentenced to probation. Alishaev has already paid the $1 million he owes in restitution.

The government’s statement said that Alishaev admitted “that in mid-August 2015, he and Pinkhasov, after learning that the FBI was involved, also agreed that they would never speak about the stolen diamonds. Alishaev never reported to the FBI or any other civil or judicial authority under the United States that the diamonds he received from Pinkhasov were stolen.”

In a motion last year, Alishaev’s lawyer argued that “there is no evidence that Mr. Alishaev knew anything about the origin of the jewels and the types of offenses through which the jewels were obtained, and, in fact, purchased them from a relative whom, initially, he had no reason to distrust.”

The FBI’s page on gem and jewelry theft can be seen here. The Jewelers’ Security Alliance tips for how traveling salespeople can protect themselves can be seen here.

(Photo: Getty Images) 

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By: Rob Bates

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