Paul Blarr, the Williamsville, N.Y., jeweler charged with misrepresenting diamond simulants as the real thing, has pleaded guilty to defrauding 89 customers, according to the Erie County district attorney’s office.
Blarr pled guilty as charged to scheme to defraud in the first degree and to 10 counts of grand larceny in the third degree. The charges were the highest charges for which Blarr could have been convicted had he gone to trial.
Blarr admitted to misrepresenting diamond simulants, including moissanite, as diamond at his two companies, RSNP Diamond Exchange and Amherst Diamond Exchange, between Jan. 1, 1988 and March 21, 2014, when he was arrested. The charges include defrauding 89 victims, who lost approximately $630,000.
According to The Buffalo News, following the plea, the presiding judge read the names of all 89 victims listed in the scheming to defraud charge as well as the names of 10 victims listed in the grand larceny counts.
Blarr’s lawyer told the newspaper that the case “has been devastating to [Blarr] and his family. He’s not running from what happened here, and the judge recognizes that.” He also suggested that the $630,000 sum may be inflated by using appraised values.
The former jeweler will be sentenced by Erie County Court Judge Michael Pietruszka on July 25, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. The maximum sentence for a non-murder offense in New York state is 50 years in state prison.
According to a statement from the district attorney’s office, “the time between Blarr’s guilty plea and sentencing will allow for the exploration of other issues concerning the defendant’s jewelry business,” including “items of jewelry entrusted by their owners to the defendant either for repair or for sale on consignment.”
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