Harris Jewelry Defrauded Thousands of Servicemembers, Will Pay Millions in Fines

Advocate Andy

New York Attorney General joins with Federal Trade Commission to shutter fraudulent jewelry store

New York Attorney General Letitia James joined with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue an order effectively shuttering Harris Jewelry and recovering $34.2 million dollars for servicemembers defrauded by the company.

Attorney General James decried the practices of the now-defunct jeweler in a statement.

“It’s abhorrent that Harris Jewelry built their business by taking advantage of young servicemembers risking their lives to protect our country,” said Attorney General James. “Harris Jewelry claimed to serve and support our troops, but its business practices were entirely self-serving. For years, Harris Jewelry misled military members and saddled them with thousands of dollars of debt. My office joined forces with FTC and 17 other states to protect servicemembers from Harris Jewelry and combat their predatory practices. Today’s action will help thousands of servicemembers get back on their feet after falling victim to Harris Jewelry’s schemes."

In conjunction with the FTC, the New York AG found that Harris Jewelry used deceptive marketing tactics to lure active-duty servicemembers to their financing program, falsely claiming that investing in this program would improve servicemembers’ credit scores. Instead, servicemembers were tricked into obtaining high-interest loans on overpriced, poor-quality jewelry that saddled them with thousands of dollars of debt and worsened their credit. The agreement reached in the case requires Harris Jewelry to refund tens of thousands of servicemembers for warranties they were tricked into purchasing, to stop collecting millions of dollars of debt, to correct bad credit scores, and to dissolve all its businesses.

The FTC said this case demonstrates the consequences of defrauding servicemembers.

“Today’s action against Harris Jewelry shows that companies that target our country’s servicemembers with false promises and deceptive sales practices will face serious consequences,” said Samuel Levine, director, FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC is committed to working with state enforcers to halt unfair and deceptive business practices across the marketplace. We are grateful for their partnership in this case, which allowed us to deliver strong relief for servicemembers.”

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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