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Market Developments

Investigation into actions of NY jeweler expands

By Brecken Branstrator

April 10, 2014

Williamsville, N.Y.--The diamond simulants that one New York retailer allegedly was selling to his customers as real diamonds might have been just the beginning of his fraud, local police said.

According to a recent update on Amherst Police Department’s Facebook page, in addition to selling moissanite and other diamond simulants that he misrepresented as natural diamonds, Paul Blarr of RSNP Diamond Exchange might have sold enhanced diamonds without disclosing them as such at the time of purchase.

Additionally, the case has expanded to include colored gemstones, which in some cases may have been switched or were not the quality promised from the retailer. There also have been some reports of the retailer selling jewelry that was said to be solid karat gold but was actually found to be gold-plated, police said.

The police department in Amherst, N.Y., which has jurisdiction over the village of Williamsville, has been using its Facebook page to urge past customers of RSNP Diamond Exchange and Blarr’s previous business, Amherst Diamond Exchange, who feel they may be victims to have their jewelry tested.

To date, Blarr faces three counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud, all of which are felonies. The investigation is ongoing.

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The Amherst Police Department could not be reached for more information or comment Wednesday.

Blarr’s attorney, Charles J. Marchese, confirmed that the jeweler is pleading not guilty.

Marchese maintains that after Blarr was arrested at the store, he immediately offered to let the police check all the stones they had at the store but they checked nothing and didn’t take anything with them, he said.

“If someone is operating a scheme to defraud, would they not have fake gemstones on hand? Wouldn’t it make sense for the police to take possession of the stones at that time? I find it interesting that they didn’t,” Marchese said, noting that he has talked to area jewelers who are helping test the stones and that a “great majority (of the stones) are fine.”

Blarr waived his right to a felony hearing. Marchese told National Jeweler that the next step would be for the district attorney to present the case to a grand jury for possible indictment.

In the meantime, customers who had items at RSNP Diamond Exchange for repair only can now contact Marchese’s office to arrange for pickup.