PITTSFIELD -- The criminal case against a local jeweler accused of multiple felonies, including selling a woman a fake bar of gold for $25,000, will be heading to the grand jury, according to prosecutors.
Mark J. Yannone, 31, who owns Berkshire Gold & Silver on Elm Street and the now-closed Mark Joseph Jewelers, has scammed seven customers out of thousands of dollars by failing to pay for or return jewelry, according to police.
Among those who allege they were victims of the jeweler is a 34-year-old woman who told police she gave Yannone $25,000 to buy a 19-ounce gold bar as an investment and instead received "a white-colored substance" that had been covered in a gold finish that "was beginning to peel and flake," according to a police report.
The woman said two other jewelers later determined the bar contained no gold.
Yannone, of Pittsfield, has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of larceny over $250.
During a pretrial hearing on Thursday in Central Berkshire District Court, prosecutor Kelly M. Kemp told the court that the cases would be heading to the Berkshire Superior Court. No indictment had come down against Yannone as of Friday afternoon.
Yannone's attorney, Leonard H. Cohen, said that if Yannone is indicted, the charges would be dismissed at the district court level and the case would then be handled in Berkshire Superior Court.
Cohen said his client has not been indicted. This was confirmed by the Berkshire Superior Court Clerk's Office Friday. Yannone is next due back in court on Sept. 25.
Yannone is also the defendant in a civil case in Berkshire Superior Court involving a woman who alleges he failed to return or pay her for jewelry she had on consignment with him.
The woman is asking for more than $100,000 in damages. That case remains pending.
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