Crime

5 Men Who Fenced Stolen Diamonds Get 15 Years in Prison

CrimeSep 23, 2021

5 Men Who Fenced Stolen Diamonds Get 15 Years in Prison

They bought and resold jewels from a South America-based gang that targeted traveling salespeople across the United States.

Dallas—Five men who purchased and resold stolen jewelry stolen have been sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison combined and ordered to pay millions in restitution. 

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, the men fenced jewels obtained from what it referred to as a “South American theft and robbery group” that targeted traveling salespeople across the U.S. 

One of the men, 51-year-old Romelio Riveron, pled guilty in March 2020 to engaging in a conspiracy to launder money.

According to court documents, Riveron said he traveled from Miami to Texas and other states to purchase stolen diamonds from the group, buying for below market value to turn a profit upon reselling and sending cash payments to co-conspirators in Colombia. 

He was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said he’s paid back approximately $230,000 to date. 

In 2019, Elkin Acosta Lopez, 46, and Harrinson Corredor, 29, both pled guilty to money laundering as well.

Plea papers show that Lopez admitted to regularly flying from Bogota, Colombia to Texas to meet up with the robbers and purchase stolen jewelry. 

He would then travel to New York City to melt it down before selling it in the U.S. or returning to Colombia to sell it in his shop. 

Corredor said he connected Lopez with the robbers and helped broker sales, knowing the jewelry was stolen and taking a portion of the proceeds. 

He was sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution, while Lopez was sentenced to 68 months and ordered to pay $1.4 million. 

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The fourth perpetrator, 60-year-old Rubenhay Pinkhasov, pled guilty in 2019 to conspiracy to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce.

Pinkhasov admitted to helping move the stolen diamonds across state lines and to purchasing stolen diamonds and jewelry from the theft and robbery group twice.

He was sentenced to a 27 months behind bars and ordered to pay $1 million.

The fifth man sentenced in the case was 49-year-old Yuri Alishaev, a prominent jewelry dealer in New York City’s Diamond District, according the attorney’s office. 

Alishaev said in court documents that he agreed to purchase stolen diamonds from Pinkhasov.

He pled guilty to concealment of a felony and was sentenced to probation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said he’s paid off the entirety of the $1 million he owes in restitution.

The South American theft and robbery group from which the five purchased diamonds was connected to many violent instances nationwide, including robbing one traveling jewelry salesman in Irving, Texas, at gunpoint before beating him to death.

Between 2016 and 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas charged 20 members of the group, all of whom have been convicted and sentenced.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.
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