LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles man who previously operated a business in Beverly Hills known as “Gentlemen Timepieces” appeared in court this afternoon after his arrest Tuesday by FBI agents on charges of defrauding customers of his luxury watch consignment business.
Anthony Farrer, 35, who until recently lived in downtown Los Angeles, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed Monday with wire fraud, a felony that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Farrer, who also was known as “The Timepiece Gentleman,” was arrested without incident at a storage facility in Venice and was held in federal custody overnight. He made his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court, and an arraignment was scheduled for December 14. A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint that was unsealed today, Farrer founded the company in Texas in 2017 and opened a location in Beverly Hills in 2022. Farrer used this business to connect purchasers and sellers of high-end watches. He would typically collect a watch from an individual and have them sign a consignment agreement that stipulated he would collect a commission from the sale, typically 5%.
The complaint alleges that Farrer defrauded victims beginning in late 2022 until the summer of 2023, when he promised customers he would sell their luxury watches on consignment. Rather than remitting funds back to the customers less the commission, he kept the proceeds for himself. Farrer lived in a luxury rental property and was known to drive a Lamborghini and Ducati motorcycles. He traveled frequently to, and engaged in gambling in, Las Vegas, according to the complaint.
Farrer induced victims into wiring funds for the purchase of luxury watches and, instead of purchasing the agreed upon watch, he would send them a different watch, the complaint alleges. In one case, a victim received a Rolex watch from Farrer in lieu of money Farrer owed, but the Rolex belonged to another victim who had provided the watch to Farrer to sell on consignment and did not authorize Farrer to use the watch as payment for his debts to other victims.
The complaint further alleges that Farrer operated a scheme in a similar manner to a Ponzi scheme and would lull victims into a sense of security by engaging in smaller successful transactions prior to requesting or engaging in significantly larger transactions.
Multiple victims contacted law enforcement to report that they wired funds to Farrer for the purchase of a watch, or mailed him a watch to consign for sale, but were never paid for the watch or never received their watch back. To date, law enforcement estimates that victim losses currently total approximately $3 million. The investigation is ongoing and law enforcement is in the process of identifying additional victims.
Farrer apparently abandoned the Beverly Hills store in August 2023 and began posting about his various travel throughout the United States on social media. As recently as October 2023, Farrer continued to advertise watches for sale on his social media platforms, according to the complaint.
A criminal complaint contains allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the Beverly Hills Police Department are investigating this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Joshua O. Mausner of the Violent and Organized Crime Section is prosecuting this case.