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Venus Jewelers Pleads Guilty to 10 Violations of State Cash-for-Gold Consumer Protection Law

Venus JewelersA Somerset jewelry store pleaded guilty to 10 violations of state cash-for-gold consumer protection laws and must pay more than $5,000 in fines and court costs.

Venus Jewelers, Rutgers Plaza, was one of five Somerset County jewelry stores caught earlier this year in a joint sting operation run by the state Attorney General’s Office, the state Division of Consumer Affairs and the Somerset County Prosecutor.

The store was hit with 439 violations for allegedly failing to abide by the state’s cash-for-gold consumer protection laws, according to an Oct. 2 release on the charges by the state Attorney General’s Office.

The case was adjudicated Nov. 7 in Franklin Municipal Court before Municipal Court Judge E. Ronald Wright, said Damaris Santiago, the court administrator.

Santiago said that Venus Jewelers’ attorney, Jeffrey Green, entered guilty pleas to:

  • 1 count of  failure to “clearly and prominently display at place of purchase the price paid by the buyer for precious metals, expressed as price per standard measure of weight;”
  • Three counts of failing to weigh precious metals in plain view of the seller;
  • Three counts of failing to weigh precious metals in plain view of the seller and issuing serialized receipts, and
  • Three counts of failure to issue to the seller of precious metals serialized receipts.

Each count carried a fine of $500, Santiago said. Total of the fines was $5,000, with $132 in court costs, she said.

Another Franklin jeweler, David Rubin of Highland Park, was charged with third-degree receiving stolen property and with third- and fourth-degree attempted receipt of stolen property. His store, Cash4Gold/Wireless Source, was also charged with 30 municipal court violations of the state cash-for-gold consumer protection law, according to the October release.

Santiago said the municipal court case against Rubin is on hold, pending charges in Superior Court.

“That won’t be heard until we get authorization to proceed,” she said.

During the sting, known as “Operation Somer Gold,” undercover investigators from the county prosecutor’s office and the state and county offices of weights and measures targeted eight Somerset County jewelry stores and posed as customers wanting to sell gold, the release said. The shops were located in Bound Brook, Franklin and Green Brook.

The investigators watched for whether the jewelry store employees followed state consumer protection laws and laws intended to protect against the sale of stolen goods, the release said.

According to state law, a jeweler must weigh and test any proffered jewelry in front of the seller, the release said. The jeweler must also use scales certified by Weights and Measures, and post signs stating what the store will pay for various precious metals.

State law intended to protect against the sale of stolen jewelry requires a buyer to obtain proof of the seller’s identity and create a receipt that includes the transaction’s date;  the seller’s name, address and signature; the buyer’s name and address; the type of precious metal bought and it’s weight, fineness and price paid, according to the release.

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