A dozen Wayne jewelers allegedly violated state and municipal laws by improperly purchasing precious metals from undercover investigators.
More than 170 state civil complaints and 30 municipal code violations were filed against the jewelers for allegedly violating the laws protecting consumers seeking to trade in gold, silver and other precious metals for money.
Law enforcement officials announced the alleged violations at a press conference Tuesday.
The jewelers are accused of failing to weigh and test the fineness of precious metals in plain view of sellers, not obtaining sellers’ proof of identification, not posting the prices offered for precious metals, and failing to issue receipts. Some sellers allegedly did not use a scale certified by the Office of Weights and Measures.
“Consumers deserve clear and accurate information when they shop around for the best value for their family’s jewelry,” said Eric Kanefsky, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
Undercover investigators brought jewelry and offered to sell them at the stores. They observed if the jewelers followed state laws and municipal ordinances when buying and selling the items.
Operation Going for Gold involved personnel from the , the state Office of Weights and Measurers, and the prosecutor’s office.
Seven of the jewelers have booths at the Wayne Diamond and Jewelry Exchange Center on Route 46 West: D’Malke Jewelers, Gallo Jewelry, , Kemerli Millennium International, M.A. Jewelers, Pink Diamond, and Verdi Jewelry.
Four have booths at : Bayar Jewelers, Jewelry by Eric, Obsession Diamonds, and Six Stars Jewelers.
on Route 46 East also faces violations.
Each state violation carries a maximum penalty of $500. Each municipal violation carries a potential penalty of up to $2,000 as well as up to 90 days in jail or 90 days of community service.
The town must license jewelers who buy or sell secondhand gold or other jewelry. Applicants must be fingerprinted and go through a background check. Police Chief John Reardon decides which applicants receive licenses.
Jewelers must deliver a description of all items purchased, received, or sold to police within 48 hours of the transaction being completed. Jewelers must also retain the jewelery for at least 48 hours after it is purchased.
Buyers are prohibited from selling, melting, or alterning the jewelry within 45 days of purchasing it from someone.
Wayne Police Detective Denns Ferray said in one case, investigators discovered a piece of jewelry that was sold to a jeweler in another jeweler’s case the same day it was sold.
The jewelers will appear in Wayne municipal court later this year. Court Administrator Lori Ellicott said that a court date has not been set yet.