Pennsylvania DA Charges Jeweler With Precious Metals Violation

The district attorney of York, Pa., has filed charges against two local precious metals dealers—one a jeweler, the other a coin dealer—for allegedly not complying with the state law that governs the buying of precious metals.

The two dealers—James Zimmerman, owner of Zimmerman Jewelers, and Dennis Steinmetz, owner of Steinmetz Coins & Currency, both based in York—were charged with failure to comply with state law 73 P.S. § 1933 (c), a third-degree misdemeanor, says Kyle G. King, chief administrator for the district attorney’s office.

The DA’s office alleges that, on Jan. 15, it contacted the two men about their compliance with the Pennsylvania statute that covers precious metals purchases. That rule requires that, after a precious metals dealer makes a purchase, they deliver or mail a copy of the transaction record to the county district attorney by the close of the next working day.

After that advisory, the DA’s office said it measured the dealers’ compliance. From Feb. 1 on, Zimmerman Jewelers maintained a 37% compliance rate, while Steinmetz Coins & Currency had a 17% compliance rate, according to a statement from the DA’s office.

Two other metals dealers were advised to maintain compliance in January, and those investigations are ongoing, King says.

The DA’s office said that it “has invested significant time and money” in making the reporting of precious metals transactions easier by establishing a web-based reporting system. The system now encompasses nearby Lebanon County and is expanding to Cumberland County.

Currently, more than 50 precious metals dealers use the website, and they maintain an average 94% compliance rate, it said.

Said York County District Attorney David Sunday in a statement, “It is the legal obligation of every precious metal dealer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to provide this information to their jurisdiction’s District Attorney. Data from this website has proven to be an invaluable tool, aiding municipal law enforcement officers in solving drug and property crimes, and helping to reunite stolen items with their rightful owners.”

The Jewelers Vigilance Committee has tips on how to maintain compliance with local and national precious metals purchasing and anti-money laundering rules here.

It’s not unheard of for local jurisdictions to press for greater enforcement of local metals laws. In December 2014, New Jersey attorney general’s office charged 71 jewelers and other businesses with nearly 10,000 violations of the state’s gold-buying laws.

Zimmerman and Steinmetz did not return requests for comment.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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JCK News Director