Diamond scam may have included gold and fake gems

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Amherst Police say more customers are discovering problems with jewelry from RSNP Diamond Exchange, in the Village of Williamsville.

Last month, shop owner Paul Blarr pleaded not guilty to three counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud. He allegedly sold fake diamonds to customers. Prosecutors now say they have about 50 people who claim they’re victims.

Police say customers from the past 20 years are calling other precious gemstones into question that have been purchased at or repaired by the store. Police say some gold items were found be gold-plated instead of solid gold, some gems were switched or not the quality of what they purchased, and some diamonds were enhanced.

But police say not all of the customers who have been tricked may have been found. Some customers had diamonds tested without the equipment that identifies Moissanite, a man-made substance that mimics a real diamond.

Scanlon’s Jewelers has been testing jewelry from Blarr’s store for free. The store uses several different methods to determine a real from a fake, including using a microscope and then a heat test, which can identify Moissanite.

In just the past two weeks, Scanlon’s has tested more than 300 diamonds, and they say at least 40 of them have turned out to be fakes.

“Most fine jewelers don’t have experience with it because we don’t sell it,” said Todd Scanlon of Scanlon’s Jewelers. “There have been some really horrible things done, from brides- and grooms-to-be that took loans out for stones that they haven’t even paid off to I had a terminal cancer patient buy something for his wife and instructed her to wear it after he passed away and then give it to his daughter so daddy could give her the ring when she got married and it was $7,000 and it was fake.”

Amherst Police are encouraging anyone who had any jewelry – diamonds, gold or other gemstones – bought from or repaired at RSNP Diamond Exchange to have them tested at a reputable jeweler.

Scanlon says if you’re making a big purchase, ask for certification from a reputable lab before putting your money down.

“You want to go to more than one store, all the time. I’d love you to come here only, shop the pricing. If someone is ridiculously low on something there’s probably something wrong,” he said.

Anyone who had items at RSNP Diamond Exchange for repair only, can now call the law office of Charles Marchese (716-845-6446) to arrange to pick up your property.

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