Former Flat Rock , N.C. Jewelry Store Owner Senteced To More Than Three Years On Mail Fraud Charges
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced yesterday Dina R. Garfinkel, a.k.a. Dina Drake, Dina Lebovitch, and Ruth Lebovitch, to 41 months in prison on mail fraud charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Garfinkel, 69, of New York City, was also ordered to serve three years under court supervision after she is released from prison and to pay $400,000 as restitution to her victims.
U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by Nick Annan, Special Agent in Charge of ICE/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Georgia and the Carolinas.
According to filed documents and statements made in court, Garfinkel was the owner and operator of Nikki B. Designs, LLC, a jewelry store located in Flat Rock, N.C. From about 2012 through April 2013, Garfinkel defrauded 12 wholesale companies of at least $400,000 in merchandise she had ordered on consignment, commonly referred to in the jewelry industry as “on memo.” Court records show that using an alias, Garfinkel would contact wholesalers located throughout the United States and order diamonds and/or jewelry on memo. According to court records, in most instances in order to establish trust and rapport with the victim companies, Garfinkel made quick payments for the initial orders she received. This caused the wholesalers to send Garfinkel additional merchandise, for which she either did not pay, partially paid, or paid using worthless checks. According to statements made in court, Garfinkel has three previous convictions for carrying out the same scheme in New York and in Florida.
Garfinkel pleaded guilty to mail fraud in April 2016. She is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation was led by HSI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Edwards of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.