Jewelry Store Owner Sentenced to 90 Days for Defrauding Military Families

A San Diego jewelry store owner who preyed on active duty military families by engaging in illegal financing and debt collection practices was sentenced Thursday to 90 days in jail and was ordered to make restitution to the victims Ramil "Randy" Abalkhad, owner of Romano's Jewelers, will also be required to cancel outstanding debts owed by the victims The state Department of Justice filed a 14-count criminal complaint last year charging Abalkhad with conspiracy to violate the Unruh Act, which protects consumers who buy goods or services on credit, and the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which protects Californians against unlawful debt collection practices.

Co-defendant Melina Abalkhad, who was previously sentenced, will be required to complete a misdemeanor diversion program for her role in operating Romano's affiliate, MBNB Financial The stores targeted young marines and sailors, some fresh out of boot camp, encouraging them to buy jewelry for themselves and for their families and loved ones on credit According to the criminal complaint, Randy Abalkhad failed to provide legally required disclosures about monthly payments, interest rates, or other terms of financing.

The complaint alleged that Romano's used debt collectors who falsely posed as attorneys and illegally threatened service members with court martial and other military disciplinary actions. . More