Wednesday April 24, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- A local jeweler, accused of taking $25,000 from a woman but failing to deliver gold bars in return, will be heading to court next month for a pretrial hearing in the case.

Mark J. Yannone, 30, of Onota Lane, is also facing a civil case in Berkshire Superior Court involving another woman who is asking for more than $100,000 she said is owed her for jewelry she had on consignment with Yannone but was never paid for.

According to the Pittsfield Police, a 34-year-old Pittsfield woman in December wrote three checks totaling $25,000 to Yannone, who owns Berkshire Gold & Silver and the now-shuttered Mark Joseph Jewelers on Elm Street, for gold bars she was buying as an investment. She told police the checks were cashed, but she never received the gold.

The woman also bought a bracelet worth $1,650 and stopped payment on the check when she didn’t receive the gold, according to police.

Yannone was arraigned last month on the criminal charge related to the gold bars. He pleaded not guilty to a single count of felony larceny over $250 and remains free on personal recognizance.

On Tuesday, his attorney, Leonard H. Cohen, said his client denies the charges. Cohen said it was too early to know whether the case would be staying in district court or go to a grand jury. A pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for May 3.

An unrelated civil case was brought against Yannone in December by Joanne Simms, who was hired to manage Berkshire Gold & Silver last year, according to court
documents.

Simms alleges that she had brought her "personal jewelry stock" to sell on consignment at the store. Last September, Simms was given three checks totaling $20,100 for the sale of some of her consignment jewelry, but all the checks bounced and Yannone "refused and neglected" to pay her, according to her complaint.

Beyond this, Simms alleges that Yannone never returned the rest of her jewelry or equipment worth close to $100,000.

She says she’s owed a total of $119,706.99. She is being represented by attorney Anthony P. Doyle.

Attorney Alan J. Righi, who represents Yannone in his civil case, wrote in a response filed in superior court, that his client’s "obligations" to Simms were "fully, completely and properly" dealt with and that Simms had made "false and misleading representations" to Yannone.

When reached by phone on Tuesday, Righi wouldn’t comment on the case.

No court dates have been set in the civil case yet, according to the Berkshire Superior Court Clerk’s Office.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx