Defendant Embezzled Rare Jewelry And Artifacts Valued At More Than $48 Million

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that RALPH ESMERIAN, the former owner and chairman of Fred Leighton Holdings Inc. (“Fred Leighton”), the Manhattan-based luxury jewelry retailer, pled guilty today to a three-count Indictment charging him with wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and concealment of assets in connection with a scheme to embezzle and double-pledge assets that ESMERIAN estimated to be worth more than $48 million in collateral. That collateral partially secured over $210 million in loans ESMERIAN used to finance his business operations and to purchase Fred Leighton. ESMERIAN pled guilty in Manhattan Federal Court before U.S. District Judge DENISE L. COTE.

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