Lucas-Van Zenten -- gem scam - Linda Stocker Cecil Starkman
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Author:  emdee [ Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Yes, Spake

Please have your family members to contact:

Mr. Richard Cinnamo at
US Postal Inspection Service
PO Box 160
185 W. John Street
Hicksville, NY 11802-0160
516-932-4580, ext 18

Perhaps your family members can at least help in stopping these people.
Keep us updated here for any additional information you hear.


Author:  emdee [ Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Better Business Bureau of Canada

Also, Marina Villarroël at
is handling the case at the BBB of Canada. She has already tried to contact them twice without success. Contact her and let her know your concerns as well.

Author:  spake [ Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:31 pm ]
Post subject:  info you provided

Thank you so much!

Author:  lorrax [ Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:15 pm ]
Post subject:  I worked for LVZ

I worked for Lucas Van Zenten when I was living in Montreal in 1999-2000, doing menial secretarial work. Honestly, it was an awful place to work but from what I saw other than some exaggerations by the sales reps. it seemed like an honest business. Either way, what I do know is that the most of the reps. that you mentioned have been working there since then. I do know that Mr. Starkman mentioned the difficulty of training reps for the sales positions so I hope for your sake that this explains "Maureen's" disappearance...

Author:  emdee [ Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Not just "Maureen"

Not only has "Maureen" fled but so has "Linda" - the BBB of Quebec has sent two communications to them without receiving a reply.

From the conversations I had with Mr. Starkman (or Starckman as it is spelled on the website), he didn't seem very interested in customer satisfaction, imo.

I only hope that they haven't simply opened shop under different assumed names so as to scam others as well.


Author:  prospector [ Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:08 am ]
Post subject: 

I had the emeralds I bought from LVZ re-appraised, and for the most part they were close to what I paid, but when I spoke to a professional about selling them, he told me I would be lucky to get 5 cents on the dollar for them. The values are mostly for insurance purposes, not real worth. I have not heard back from my "broker" in over 3 months, nor do I expect to. These places need to be closed down!!!

Author:  emdee [ Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Thanks for posting prospector

Thanks for posting, prospector. I think that Lucas Van-Zenten has shut down for all practical purposes. They've probably opened shop with new names - these types of thieves know how to get around the law.

Live and learn - we just have to remember that they are thieves and we're better off cutting ties now rather than later because they may be dangerous people.

Good luck to you!

Author:  Gemster [ Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:32 am ]
Post subject: 

I got an update on my story.

I took my pieces to a nearby jewelry store that the proprietor, Steven, has had in business since 1974. A few months ago, he referred me to another nearby jeweller, Jim, who is high enough in the profession that he has inspected crown jewels before. I explained the situation to this second skilled jeweller on the phone, and he told me that LVZ is wasting my time; he has seen these scams since 1980. I said that the inspecting laboratory had an inspector that was uncertified. He said there is no such thing as a certified inspector for gems. The boxes are sealed so that the gems can only be inspected by opening them, which gives the scammer the ability to say "Well, the box is opened; there's no proof that that worthless piece is what I sent you." He said it would cost about US$15,000 to sue them since the are in another country, and by the end of that, I would not have any money left from the original investment anyway.

Steven said he's even heard of people taking out second mortgages to buy these sort of things. I showed him the certifications that I got, and he had never heard of the laboratory, nor had one of his colleagues who works just around the block from them in New York City.

Not having any other real choice, I went back to Steven, and he and I unboxed the gems and carvings that I got (3 stones and 3 carvings). They are indeed all emeralds.

He appraised them for me, and he might be able to sell them for 10% of what I paid for them. In addition, two of the carvings that I had were packaged to disguise the damage they had (the bull has a broken horn and covered with a sticky wax-like film, and the elephant has one foot broken off). I am not impressed with these pieces, to say the least.

Steven referred me to Jewellers Vigilance Canada (1-800-636-9536,, Suite 600, 27 Queen Street East, Toronto, Quebec, M5C 2M6, Canada). The lady there, Carla Adams, asked me to photocopy my records and mail them to her. I'm going to do that. She said the next step in Lucas-Van Zenten's modus operandi is likely to be to open shop under another name, and call me (acting as this second company) to say that they understand I have been scammed, and that they have found a buyer for the pieces, but the buyer will only take them if two other pieces are included, and so they'll try to get me to buy even two more pieces! She said there's almost certainty that I'll never get my money back. There is no such thing as a market for investing in gems; if there were, then all jewellers would be doing that instead of selling jewelry and gems. She also suggested I call the Montreal police and the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), who might be able to help.

Unfortunately, this whole fiasco doesn't explain why the Quebec BBB entry for this company ( ... orieID=212) is favorable. If the Quebec BBB page hadn't been favorable, then I would not have invested in these in the first place, and I'd still have the down payment for a house.

I will notify the BBB of Quebec, and get in touch with the other authorities listed in the previous posts.

Author:  emdee [ Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:43 am ]
Post subject:  Thanks, Gemster

Thanks for posting Gemster. Hopefully, our stories will help others to be more aware. Please do notify all of the people listed throughout this topic. I, like you, cannot understand why the BBB has not removed their favorable listing of LVZ. I have notified them several times and have sent copies of all of my paperwork with a formal complaint.

I wonder if your contact is correct and they will try to contact us again under a different name. I'd love to talk with "Linda" just one more time! LOL

I have spent quite a bit of time notifying everyone that I could. Now, it is my opinion that if these liars and thieves do not pay on this side of life, they will on the other side. If any of the investigators call and ask me to help them, I will. If not, I know I tried to stop them as best I could.


Author:  emdee [ Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:46 am ]
Post subject:  One more thing

Gemster, I will also contact Jewellers Vigilance Canada at the address you posted. Thanks for posting that information.

Author:  Gemster [ Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

A little bit of an update.

Mr. Cinnamo informed me that Larry Eisenberg, who had been arrested for charge of mail fraud, did plead guilty today, April 5, 2007. He will be sentenced in July 2007. So far, he is the only arrest in the case, although there may certainly be others. Since I have volunteered to testify, he will make sure I stay informed of the case's progress.

Author:  emdee [ Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:44 pm ]
Post subject:  That's wonderful!

Thanks so much for posting this, Gemster. What great news. I'm sure that getting the ones in Canada will prove harder but this is a start. Please post any other updates that you hear!

Author:  timp68 [ Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:37 pm ]
Post subject:  LVZ

I have just spoken postal and inspector and they are seek resitution from mr. Eisenburg. I fortunatly didn't qualify, because early in this scam I demanded a refund. I recieved it. I was unaware that so many persons have been affected.

Author:  prospector [ Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:17 pm ]
Post subject: 

I have just gotten an email today from Mr. Cinnamo, the postal inspector handling this case. He is preparing a restitution order and wants me to fax all invoices to him so he can determine the NET losses. I'm not sure what it all means yet and I plan on calling him as soon as I can to get more details. I will post again when I do.

I am just so sick of this situation. LVZ has ruined my life. I am bankrupt, but that's not what bothers me the most. I was made to look like a fool because I trusted them to help me build a future. Now that is all gone.

Author:  emdee [ Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:15 pm ]
Post subject:  That would be wonderful

I hope that Mr. Cinnamo is successful. Please keep us posted here.

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