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I just learned today from a detective that I red that my…

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I just learned today from...
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: 2 years ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 1 hour by:
2/18/2016
Lawyer: Gerald, Esq, Lawyer replied 2 years ago
Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 5,366
Experience: Over 30 years of experience
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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/

I hope the information I provide is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow up questions, feel free to ask. Please note that I am generally unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.

Please do not forget to give me a positive rating. It adds nothing to your costs but it helps me greatly. Thank you.

If you are dissatisfied with my response PLEASE let me know before giving me a negative review so that I may try to be of better assistance. Or if you prefer, let me know and I can “Opt Out” and your question can be re-posted without additional cost to you. I will be fair to you and only ask the same from you.

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.

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Lawyer: Gerald, Esq, Lawyer replied 2 years 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

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Lawyer: Gerald, Esq, Lawyer replied 2 years 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

(Please do not forget to rate me – click the five stars. It adds nothing additional to your costs, but it helps me greatly. Plus it is good Karma for you. Thank you.)

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