8-01-22 Police Renew Public Warning About Jewelry Scam

Alert PhotoAlert PhotoAlert PhotoHawai‘i Island police are renewing their warning to the public about a recent scam involving the selling of counterfeit jewelry. During the past two months, police have seen an increase in the reports of these types of scams and have initiated multiple theft investigations.

Last month a 33-year-old man from Washington, later identified as Vasile Calin, was charged with theft in the first degree and criminal simulation after a 62-year-old Kailua-Kona resident reported he had been a victim of theft. In that incident, which is similar to other reported thefts, the Big Island resident told police he was approached by two men who told him that they were visitors and needed cash because their credit card did not work. The 62-year-old then paid Calin an undisclosed amount of money in exchange for jewelry, which he was told was real 18-carat gold. However, after getting it appraised, the man learned that all the jewelry was fake.

The suspects tend to approach people in public places and tell victims they are visitors and are selling rare or antique jewelry because they need money for gas or to purchase plane tickets back to their home country.

Under Hawaii State Law, obtaining control over the property of another person by deception with intent to deprive the other of the property is considered theft. The severity for the penalties for theft depend on the monetary amount lost and in some instances be considered felony offenses punishable by multiple years of incarceration and/or monetary fines. Theft in the first degree is defined as theft in an amount that exceeds $20,000 and is classified as a Class “B” Felony offense punishable by up to 10 years of incarceration and/or a fine up to $25,000. Theft in the second degree is defined as theft in an amount that exceeds $750 and is classified as a Class “C” Felony offense punishable by up to 5 years of incarceration and/or a fine up to $10,000.

Presenting an item that appears to have an antiquity, rarity, source, or authorship that it does not in fact possess is also against the law and is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a year of incarceration and/or a $1,000 fine.

As a reminder, Hawaii Police Department urges the public to exercise caution whenever purchasing jewelry and recommends to have all jewelry inspected by a professional jeweler, goldsmith, or gemologist prior to purchase.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to this jewelry scam, please contact the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311. Taking note of individual characteristics of the person selling the counterfeit jewelry along with their behavior patterns and vehicles may assist law enforcement in identifying, apprehending, and prosecuting suspects.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Pictured: examples of fake jewelry recovered by Hawai‘i Police Department.

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