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 October 20th, 2009  
St. Lucie County Sheriff warns against participating in unlicensed gold sales
With the downturn in the economy and the increase in gold prices, gold-buying businesses have become aggressive in seeking customers.

But those businesses are required to have state, county and in some cases city licenses for second-hand sales, warns St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara. “The laws help us guard against illegal sales of stolen property by requiring strict record-keeping including a state-issued photo-ID and thumbprint for every gold-for-cash sales transaction, and every sale must be reported to law enforcement.”

People who have gold buying parties at their homes must also follow these licensing and reporting laws, according to Sheriff Mascara. “It’s legal to sell your gold for cash, but the licensing and reporting requirements must be met,” the Sheriff said.

“On the positive side, when our undercover deputies visited gold-buying businesses last week, none of the businesses would buy gold items unless the seller showed proper identification,” Sheriff Mascara said.

Detectives repeatedly warned the Hip Hop Fashion Outlet, at 216 North 25th Street, Fort Pierce, to follow state laws in their gold purchases, Sheriff Mascara said. “It was clear that this business was not following the law.”

Monday, deputies arrested the owner and two employees of the business for numerous misdemeanor violations of the applicable laws.

“The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office has a detective who works full-time to ensure compliance by pawn shops and other second-hand businesses with all licensing and business laws,” Sheriff Mascara said. “We want members of the public to learn the facts so they don’t participate in illegal transactions.”

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