A California jeweler and his wife are facing charges for targeting San Diego-based sailors and Marines with unlawful financing and debt collection practices, according to the state Attorney General.
14 felony counts have been filed against Ramil and Melina Abalkhad, who own Romano’s Jewelers and MBNB Financial Inc., respectively.
According to a complaint backed by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the couple encouraged young military families to purchase jewelry through MBNB Financial credit without providing mandated disclosures about monthly payments, financing or interest rates.
Without clear guidelines and information, several people fell behind on payments and were harassed relentlessly by debt collectors.
“Our servicemembers and military families sacrifice immensely for our country; the last thing they should have to worry about is being fleeced by local merchants,” Becerra said.
In addition to shady financing practices, the couple posed as attorneys, threatening servicemembers with court actions.
“At the Department of Justice, we will vigorously protect California’s servicemembers and veterans, like all consumers in California,” Becerra added. “We will continue working with our military partners who provide legal assistance and financial counseling to educate and protect military consumers.”
According to Fox5, the couple also engaged in a check fraud scheme that cost a local bank over $270,000.
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