A New York City jeweler has been found guilty for his role in a scheme where he knowingly acted as a fence for stolen goods.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, a jury has found Queens jeweler Stanislav “Steve” Yakubov guilty of one count of money laundering conspiracy and two counts of making false statements to federal law enforcement agents.
Yakubov, who worked at a store at the Jamaica Colosseum Mall in Queens, was originally charged last April.
“Stanislav Yakubov agreed to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of diamond-encrusted, stolen luxury watches that had been taken during violent robberies, the victims of which included jewelers from Yakubov’s own community,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in the release. “Yakubov’s actions fueled a year-long robbery spree that targeted nearly a dozen victims, and his conviction sends a message to the community that the purchase and laundering of stolen property will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted.”
The robberies in the case were considered especially alarming since they targeted jewelers off-premises.
The Jewelers’ Security Alliance hailed the arrest in its latest bulletin, noting the victims of the robbery spree were jewelers who were wearing Richard Mille watches. It sounded a note of caution, that “jewelers should be prudent about wearing high-end watches outside their stores.”
In an affidavit, a special agent said that a cooperating witness told her Yakubov was aware one of the watches “came from a recent robbery but did not care and was willing to buy it.” The jeweler then gave the witness approximately $84,000 in cash, the affidavit claimed.
He later bought several other watches obtained in robberies, according to the affidavit—but denied doing so when questioned by federal agents.
The DOJ’s press release contains several photographs of the stolen watches. Anyone who knows their whereabouts is urged to call the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Yakubov faces 20 years in prison for the money laundering charges and five years each for the false statement charges.
His attorney could not be reached for comment.
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