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Mich. Jeweler Pleads Guilty in Case Involving Stolen Platinum
A wholesale jeweler with access to a supplier’s vault admitted to stealing precious metals and replacing them with scrap metals.
Detroit--A wholesale jeweler with access to a supplier’s vault pleaded guilty to slowly stealing precious metals and replacing them with scrap metal.
Greg Koukoudian--who was an employee at C.R. Metals and C.R. Hill, both of which engage in the buying, selling and processing of metals, and selling of jewelry products--pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Tuesday.
According to court documents, New Jersey-based Auramet International Co. had a business agreement with Koukoudian wherein the company, along with ICBC Standard Resources, would sell him precious metals.
Both companies stored quantities of precious metals in vaults at a secure facility in Detroit.
Their supply agreement gave Koukoudian the right to remove certain materials from the vault temporarily, prior to purchase, for the specific purpose of processing the metals into commercial grade alloy for resale. After processing, the materials had to be returned to the vault.
According to court documents, over the course of a few years, Koukoudian took the precious metals from the vault--identified specifically in other court documents filed in the case as platinum--and replaced them with “less valuable metals of the same general appearance,” said to be metal rods comprised of tin, copper and “other relatively worthless scrap metals.”
He submitted false inventory reports about what he was returning; the wire fraud charged stems from Koukoudian sending these inventory reports electronically.
Losses are estimated to be $3.8 million for Auramet International and $2.7 million for ICBC Standard Resources.
Koukoudian’s sentencing is set for Jan. 10 before District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.
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