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California jewelers likely preparing a criminal defense

Individuals serving in the military were allegedly targeted by a couple who owned a chain of jewelry stores. The pair, who operate their business in California, were charged with illegal financing and debt collection. After receiving the charges, the two are likely contemplating their options for criminal defense in the face of the charges. 

The California Attorney General has claimed that the two lured military service men and women into purchasing luxury jewelry. Then, the AG alleges, the duo created bogus payment plans using a financing company the wife owned. The husband, who operated the stores, would send customers to his wife, and when the customers were unable to pay, the jewelers pressured the customers, using tactics such as a fake lawyer and employment threats. 

The couple faces 14 counts related to the alleged jewelry scam. The Attorney General also claims that neither the jewelry store or the financing company kept sufficient records or provided clear information about the terms of each loan. The couple has been involved with financial court cases in the past, and the husband recently pleaded guilty in a similar case. The other case included a scam in which service members' payroll PINs were reset in order to withdraw cash from accounts. 

The couple may have their own arguments and opinions as to why the fraud charges are inaccurate or unfair. In California, the burden of proof lies with the prosecutor in criminal defense cases. Other individuals facing similar cases may choose to enlist the help of an attorney when building a strong criminal defense. 

Source: The Washington Post, "California jewelers scammed U.S. sailors and Marines with threats from imaginary lawyer", Kyle Swenson, Oct. 4, 2017

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