By Brecken Branstrator
brecken.branstrator@nationaljeweler.com
San Diego--A one-time jewelry store owner in the upscale San Diego suburb of La Jolla was found guilty Tuesday of taking jewelry and personal property from customers without returning it, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office said.

A jury convicted 79-year-old Karl Winchell on 10 felony counts--nine counts of embezzlement and one count of grand theft. The case involved nine separate victims and more than $100,000 in losses.

His sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 9, where he faces up to nine years and four months in state prison for his crimes. Restitution for the nine affected victims also will be ordered at that time.

Winchell used to run Winchell Jewelry Designs in La Jolla but closed the shop in June 2014 after San Diego police began investigating claims that he had scammed customers out of thousands of dollars in jewelry and cash.

Winchell was charged and arraigned last October, after police found jewelry in the store that matched the description of jewelry reported by customers as being stolen or misappropriated. Victims were given a chance to identify their jewelry from the lot found in the former jeweler’s home.





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