Six New Jersey jewelers have been slapped with civil and criminal charges after a sting operation found they allegedly violated state laws regarding the sale of precious metals.
According to a release from the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, Operation “Somer Gold” sent undercover investigators to sell gold items at eight shops in Somerset County. Investigators did not cite two shops.
But two retailers now face criminal charges. The most serious were brought against David Rubin, 55, owner of Cash4Gold/Wireless Source in Franklin Township, who was charged with third-degree receiving stolen property, and with third- and fourth-degree attempted receipt of stolen property. He was allegedly found to possess jewelry and other items that he knew had been stolen during recent burglaries.
In addition, Michal Khalaf, 51, owner of Khalaf Jewelry in Bound Brook, is accused of second-degree conducting unlawful credit practice. After receiving a gold item from an undercover investigator, he allegedly attempted to pawn it at 300 percent interest, despite not being licensed as a pawnbroker.
Four other retailers received civil sanctions for allegedly failing to abide by New Jersey’s cash-for-gold consumer protection laws, such as weighing and testing the metals with a certified scale in clear sight of the seller, and posting signs with prices visible.
“New Jersey’s cash-for-gold laws remove an avenue for burglars who profit by stealing precious items from law-abiding citizens,” said Attorney General John J. Hoffman in a statement. “They also protect consumers who make the difficult decision, often during hard economic times, to part with their jewelry in exchange for cash.”
This is not the first time that the state of New Jersey has tested jewelers’ compliance with precious metal laws. In August 2012, the state ran a similar sting in Wayne County in which 12 jewelers were cited.