In 2015, a Williamsville jeweler was sentenced to 23 to 69 years in prison after he was admitted to scamming dozens of customers over two decades by selling them fake diamonds.
The former jeweler, Paul J. Blarr of Amherst, who is now 56, will be up for parole in three months. And Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn wants to make sure all of his victims have a chance to tell their stories before hand.
One justice noted that a second count against Blarr, which he didn’t please, cited 120 victims, meaning there could have been more than 200 consecutive sentences, in the worst
“This case may have the most victims of any white-collar crime prosecuted by this office,” Flynn said in a statement. “This defendant admitted to scamming his customers over the course of nearly two decades. While we have attempted to contact everyone who was affected by his crimes, some victims may have moved or changed their phone number since his conviction. I encourage anyone who is a victim of this jewelry scam to contact my office as soon as possible for more information on how to submit a statement as part of the upcoming Parole Board review.”
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Blarr pleaded guilty in 2014 to one count of scheming to defraud at least 89 of his customers and to 10 counts of grand larceny. He sold fake diamonds and other gems as the real thing for more than 16 years at the RSNP Diamond Exchange on Main Street, Williamsville. He was also taking jewelry from customers to sell on consignment, but not always giving them any money or returning their items.
The length sentence is unusual for a white collar crime.
Attorney says Paul Blarr in essence was given “a life sentence over earrings and pendants.” The sentence is similar to those given by Candace Cartagena for killing her 8-year-old daughter, Craig Lynch for killing Sister Karen
“To put it in its proper context,” Frank A. Sedita III, who was the district attorney at the time, said then, “this is the sentence you will more typically see in a murder case, rape case or the most violent of felons.”
The sentence was reduced by law to 10 to 20 years. With time served, Blarr is eligible for parole in January.
The DA’s office asked any victim who would like to contact the State Board of Parole regarding the case to contact Assistant DA Brian P. Dassero of the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit by calling 716-858-2559.