'Skips’: Costly Disappearing Acts The Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) has sounded an alarm bell over the growing numbers of “skips,” jewelry firms throughout the industry that instead of declaring bankruptcy simply disappear along with their valuable inventory. In some instances, skips occur when jewelers don't want to go to the expense or trouble of taking “the proper legal steps of filing for bankruptcy,” says Nat Earle, president of JBT. But he suspects that in most cases the skips are simply a form of fraud. Otherwise, the companies would file for bankruptcy or contact their vendors to work out a plan for paying off their debts. JBT's weekly Con- fidential Service Bulletin tracks skips, which JBT defines as companies that “discontinue operations, leav- ing unpaid obligations to the trade.” Most firms close with no advance warning, leaving no forwarding address or ph

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