Mark J. Yannone, owner of Mark Joseph Jewelers in Pittsfield, Mass., pleaded guilty on March 30 to a variety of counts involving taking jewelry from consumers and not returning it.
A release from Berkshire County district attorney’s office says Yannone, 32, copped to 14 counts of larceny by false pretense, one count of larceny over $250 from a person over 60, and one count of filing a false insurance claim. He was sentenced to concurrent 2-to-5-year prison sentences.
According to The Berkshire Eagle, Yannone repeatedly took items from consumers on consignment, without returning or paying for them.
On occasion, he reportedly returned to customers empty boxes, or what the D.A.’s office described as “phony goods.” In one instance, highlighted in court, a customer paid $25,000 for gold bars, and received a gold-plated metal bar.
At his sentencing, Yannone blamed his actions on a two-decade gambling addiction, according to the newspaper.
“You couldn’t stop me if you had a gun to my head,” he reportedly said.
According to The Eagle, Mark Joseph Jewelers has been closed, but Yannone was linked to another store, Berkshire Gold & Silver.