CHARLOTTE JEWELER SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR WIRE FRAUD
Benjamin Abraham, 60, (Seen here) was sentenced on Friday to 41 months in prison in connection with a $3.5 million investment scheme involving jewelry, precious metals and gemstones.
Abraham was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release and to pay $2,034,537 in restitution. According to filed court documents Abraham, a well-known Charlotte-area jeweler, operated a number of businesses engaged in the wholesale and retail sale of diamonds, precious metals and jewelry.
Abraham executed a financial fraud scheme involving investments in jewelry where he induced at least seven victim-investors to invest over $3.5 million, resulting in losses of more than $2 million. To induce his victims to fund the investment scheme, filed court documents show that Abraham made a number of fraudulent representations, including that the victims’ money would be used for short-term investments in gold or other precious metals, to invest in diamonds and jewelry obtained from estates, and to buy other large diamonds which would be sold for profit.
Abraham also lied to investors about his past successes and profits from engaging in such investments, misrepresented the security of the investments and made false representations about the rate of return and the duration of the investments. At times, Abraham also falsely represented that he had unique access to estate sales due to his connections.
When victims asked about the status of their investments, Abraham gave numerous false explanations, and, at times, provided victims with checks from accounts that Abraham knew did not have sufficient funds to cover the checks and continued to lie when he was confronted about the dishonored checks.
Rather than invest the victims’ money as promised, Abraham used it to fund his lifestyle, to keep his struggling businesses afloat, to pay pre-existing debts, and to make Ponzi-style payments to other victim-investors. The FBI and USPIS led the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Dallas Kaplan and Daniel Ryan, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.