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Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 2849
Experience:  30 years of experience
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I just learned today from a detective that I red that my

Customer Question

I just learned today from a detective that I hired that my stolen jewelry was sold to a gold purchasing business in Waldorf who contend they held it for 18 days and in turn sold it to a smelter in New York for bullion price. The jewelry conservatively was worth over a quarter of a million dollars. Three of the thieves involved have been arrested by both the local police and several US Marshals in Virginia. It would seem I have only two alternatives: 1) I can pursue the smelter for recovery of the bullion price they paid the buyer in Waldorf, and/or 2) I can file a civil suit against the purchasing company on the grounds that they purchased bags containing POUNDS of valuable jewelry from a 25 year old man from Virginia for PENNIES on the dollar...a situation that anyone using REASONABLE judgement would view as highly suspicious and probably criminal. Additionally, I also learned that this has become a common practice with some of these companies who are knowingly purchasing gold and jewelry under highly suspicious circumstances but are using the 18 day holding period as their legal shield.
So do you think I would be successful in a civil suit and is the buyer still technically at risk for a criminal case?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Gerald, Esq replied 9 months ago.

Hello,

Thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

Receiving stolen property IS a crime, and you can go to the District Attorney and ask that they pursue criminal charges. It is up to the DA to decide to bring those charges.

HOWEVER, you can also bring a private civil lawsuit for the "Conversion" of your property. This action can be brought against the purchasing company for the full value of the jewelry. The elements of the Tort of Conversion are as follows:

The plaintiff’s (your) ownership or right to possession of the property;

The defendant’s conversion (taking) by wrongful act against the rights of the plaintiff; and damages.

Because the standard of proof in a civil action is much less than the satndard in a criminal action, you only need prove that the purchasing company had no reasonable belief that the seller could have owned the jewelry.

Because this is a TORT action a tort (personal injury) attorney can handle this type of case very often on a contingency fee. Most attorneys who do this work will meet with you to assess the case at little charge. Additionally, you may be able to obtain attorney's fees and punitive damages in addition to your loss.

This link can assist you with finding an attorney:

http://www.lawyers.com/torts/maryland/find-law-firms-by-city/

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Good luck.

Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.

Expert:  Gerald, Esq replied 9 months ago.

The Maryland licensing law provides for the 18 day holding period. But that does not appear to be a shield against liability for your loss, it is just protect them vis-a-vis their license. At least I do not see that in the law.

See:

http://www.dllr.state.md.us/license/pm/pmfactsheet.shtml

Expert:  Gerald, Esq replied 9 months ago.

Here is a link to the code section:

http://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2013/article-gbr/section-12-305/

See Article 12 generally here:

http://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2013/article-gbr

There is no reference that I see to immunity or limitation of liability for the Tort of Conversion.

Kind regards,

Gerald

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