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Feds Seize Assets From Texas Jeweler January 05, 2021 (0 comments)

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Frisco, TX—An upscale jeweler from Texas is being investigated by federal agents, proving why all jewelers need to pay attention when the Jewelers Vigilance Committee speaks.

The Dallas Morning News says Zameer Lokhandwala of Marc Samuels Jewelers, a prestige jeweler with locations in Frisco and Grapevine, TX, has not been charged with any crimes, but is being asked by the feds to explain a series of cash transactions over $10,000 each. Federal agents seized almost $1 million and numerous pieces of expensive jewelry, gold bars, and two vehicles in a June raid on Lokhandwala’s home, reports the paper

Under federal anti-money-laundering laws, all cash transactions over $10,000 must be reported. Jewelers and other businesses that don’t keep good records may find themselves having to satisfactorily justify those transactions to the government to prove they’re not violating federal anti-money laundering laws, also known as AML, PATRIOT Act, or KYC/Know Your Customer” laws. The laws also apply to foreign-based companies who have a presence in the United States.

Marc Samuels Jewelers enjoys an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and has received other accolades from local magazines, Yelp, and the Frisco Chamber of Commerce. According to the Morning News article, Lokhandwala and his attorneys maintain that innocent mistakes, not criminal intent, are at issue. 

In cases involving legitimate businesses, prosecutors have to prove the parties knew illegal criminal proceeds were involved, says the Morning News articleBut even though the onus is on the prosecution to prove intent, anyone that qualifies as a dealer of precious metals, stones, or jewelry is obligated to create and implement a comprehensive anti-money laundering program. 

The Jewelers Vigilance Committee says the definition of “dealer” covers almost all jewelry businesses in the United States. It applies to anyone that buys and sells $50,000 or more of precious metals, precious stones, or jewelry in which 50% of the value is derived from precious metals and/or precious stones. Although creating a compliance program sounds complex, JVC offers multiple services and tools to help businesses of all sizes comply with the law and keep appropriate records, and has a recorded webinar to help jewelers.

Related: Anti-Money Laundering 101: A JVC Explainer of All Things AML

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