Philly Jeweler Sentenced for Fencing Diamonds

Eric Janovsky, Three Gold Brothers financed "coast-to-coast" heist ring.

diamonds

A Philly jeweler has been sentenced to federal prison after being convicted of fencing diamonds stolen by a “coast-to-coast” heist ring.

Eric Janovsky, 44, who worked for Three Gold Brothers on Jeweler’s Row in Philadelphia, was sentenced to 7 months 15 days in prison, and 7 months, 15 days in home confinement. The hearing took place Wednesday in the federal court at Portland, Oregon, where some of the diamonds were stolen.

The Oregonian reports:

“Any excuses I make would be disingenuous,” he said, apologizing for what he described as a stupid mistake and acknowledging he was “ashamed.”

Government prosecutors Michelle Holman Kerin and Scott Kerin, a wife-husband team, had recommended a sentence that would send a message to fences that if they bought stolen goods, they would go to prison.

“He’s a very decent human being who made a very, very poor set of choices,” Judge Marco Hernandez said as he prepared to impose Janovsky’s sentence. “I emphasize that it was a set of choices.

Court documents offer a dramatic view of the events. A sentencing memorandum in the case (below) gave this overview:

The court is now well aware of the elaborate diamond heists directed by Michael Young and executed by other defendants that form the basis of this matter. However, what truly fueled the conspiracy and funded the continued over-the-top thefts throughout the country was the willingness of defendants Three Gold Bros. and Janovsky to purchase stolen diamonds from their co-defendants beginning with the first theft in December 2009 and throughout the conspiracy through 2011.

Significantly, almost every witness against defendants Three Gold Bros. and Janovsky told a story remarkably similar about these defendants’ involvement, primarily without the benefit of the other’s testimony. As a result, the narrative from witnesses about Three Gold Bros. and Janovsky’s pivotal role in the conspiracy was consistent, corroborated by one another and not tainted by information from the other. In sum, after being unable to find a buyer in New York following the initial diamond theft in 2009, co-defendants … went to Philadelphia and found Three Gold Bros. and Janovsky. Multiple witnesses described that at that visit, and others that followed, Janovsky locked the door and moved other customers out of the store to deal secretly with the diamond thieves to facilitate the purchase of the high-end, stolen diamonds. Janovsky and Three Gold Bros. paid co-defendants in cash, typically tens of thousands of dollars for each stolen diamond, and did not maintain or provide any paperwork for these transactions.

Witnesses report that Janovsky told co-defendants to bring in whatever diamonds they could obtain, and to use code words like “not for E-bay,” to inform Three Gold Bros. that the items were stolen.

“While these defendants did not actually steal diamonds from the two dozen small businesses across the country, the role of defendants Three Gold Bros. and Janovsky in the thefts of these diamonds and the overall scheme cannot be understated,” prosecutors added. “With an easy way to sell the stolen diamonds, the main thieves were emboldened to continue their crime spree — the defendants’ conduct provided the sole source of funding for the conspiracy.”

The documents said that Three Gold Brothers is making restitution and will take out an ad in a trade magazine, JCK Magazine, advertising publicly that it traded in stolen diamonds, plead guilty to a felony, and is dissolving the business.

The reputed ringleader, Michael Young, pleaded guilty in July to charges in the case. The Oregonian ran a dramatic account of the ring’s activities in July, as well.