SANTA ANA, Calif. – A jeweler was sentenced today to six years and four months in state prison for stealing clients' diamonds and replacing them with fake stones. Charles Jayson Hanson, 53, Newport Beach, was found guilty by a jury on Oct. 25, 2016, of one felony count of first degree residential burglary, four felony counts of grand theft, and one misdemeanor count of petty theft. Sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 were also found to be true.
In September 2013, Hanson was commissioned by his then friends and neighbors David and Debra S. to upgrade Debra S.'s engagement ring. The victims payed the defendant $16,000 and gave him the original ring which contained an authentic diamond. Hanson delayed returning the “upgraded ring” to the victims until Dec. 31, 2013. On Jan. 3, 2014, the victims had the ring appraised and discovered that the diamond was a cubic zirconium. When confronted about the fake diamond, the defendant denied having any knowledge as to what happened to the original stone and promised to replace the diamond. Hanson never returned the ring to the victims. The victims reported the crime to the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD), who investigated this case.
NBPD's investigation revealed several more victims with similar encounters with the defendant.
In November 2012, Hanson was commissioned by Kenneth L. to re-work a family heirloom authentic diamond into a new ring. The victim paid the defendant $516 and gave him the original diamond ring. Hanson returned the “upgraded” ring to the victim in December 2012. In November 2014, the victim had the ring cleaned by a different jeweler and discovered the original diamond had been replaced with cubic zirconium.
In March 2013, William B. purchased a diamond ring from Hanson as an anniversary present for his wife. Two months later, the victim's wife commissioned the defendant to add diamonds to the new ring. In July 2015, the victim discovered that the “diamond” was moissanite when he had the ring appraised by a different jeweler.
In May 2014, the defendant was commissioned by Anya D. to have a pair of diamond earrings re-set into a different setting. Hanson delayed returning the reworked earrings until July 2014. In August 2015, the victim took the earrings to be re-set by a different jeweler and discovered that the original diamonds had been replaced with moissanite.
In June 2014, Hanson was commissioned by Duane G. to set his wife's engagement diamond into a new setting as a present. The victim paid the defendant $1,021, gave him a gold band, and the original ring. In July 2014, Hanson returned the “upgraded” ring to the victim. In May 2016, the victim had the ring cleaned by a different jeweler and discovered the original diamond had been replaced with moissanite.
At Hanson's sentencing today, several victims delivered victim impact statements to the court pursuant to Marsy's Law. David S. said in part, “We were devastated to learn of the defendant's fraud as we had become friends and had done several social dinners and events together. The betrayal by our good friend has a permanent detrimental effect on our once very open and trusting personalities. We now know that the defendant has dozens and dozens of victims over his adult life and routinely cheats his customers who, in many cases, are family friends and acquaintances.”
“Mr. Hanson is the true epitome of a con man. He preys on gaining people's confidence so they will not suspect his true intentions to steal from them,” Anya D. said. “I was especially appalled that he had the nerve to bring my fake diamonds to my home and was especially proud to show them to me. Unfortunately, I have lost confidence and trust for those who are in these positions of trust.”
Deputy District Attorney Paulie Fabian of the Felony Panel prosecuted this case.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14HF2132 / January 06, 2017
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