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 Post subject: Lucas-Van Zenten -- gem scam - Linda Stocker Cecil Starkman
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 56
http://www.lucasvz.com

I believe that this is a scam setup. They sell gems as an investment. Then, all of a sudden, the rep skips town and the owner knows nothing of her interaction with the customer. Anyone experience this?

The names are: Linda Stocker, Cecil Starkman or Cecil Starckman, Eugene Savitch

Addresses are:
521 Fifth Ave, Suite 1700
New York, NY 10175 212-292-4531

4999 Catherine St W. #100
Westmount, Quebec, Canada H3Z IT3

1-888-482-3917
514-482-5734


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 Post subject: Lucas Van Zenten
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:24 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:03 am
Posts: 6
Location: Northern California
I fear that you may be right. I bought some "precious gems" from these folks. The consultant that I dealt with was Maureen Ross. She was giving me rates of return figures of 3 to 1 and auctions in May of 2006 and August of 2006 where she would sell some of my portfolio. Well in the month of July, she suddenly stopped returning phone calls and emails. Then in August, I talked to Cecil Starkman who told me that Maureen had aburptly left Lucas Van Zenten and took her assistant with her. He also informed me that the auctions were cancelled due to the "world situation". I asked Mr. Starkman about the returns and his response was that "things have changed". Yeah right.
Then in September, I get a call from a Federal investigator telling me that he was investigating a lab in New York that LVZ uses to grade their gems. I was recently informed by that same investigator that the person who runs the lab has been arrested and will go to trial in May of 2007. According to Cecil Starkman, this guy used a non licensed inspector in the lab but the work is still credible.
Yeah, I'd like to find Maureen Ross one day.

_________________
In my Jeep or on my feet,
nothing like the mountains!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 56
"Maureen Ross" and "Linda Stocker" are probably one in the same with Mr. Starkman NOT being an innocent bystander as he proclaims. Did he talk you into listing your item on their website? His 'contract' to do that allows him to pocket another 5% of the selling price and my bet is that the 'seller' is as fake as Linda and Maureen!!

I have submitted complaints to the following agencies. Would you be willing to do the same? Maybe we can at least stop these guys from stealing from others even if we can't recoup our losses!

Federal Bureau of Investigation
J.Edgar Hoover Bldg
935 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington DC 20535-001

Federal Trade Commission
6th Street and Pennsylvania Ave., NW Room 200
Washington, DC 20580

National Consumer's League
1701 K Street Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20006

American Gemological Laboratories
Gemline Recovery Service, Cap Beesley
580 Fifth Ave #706
New York, NY 10036

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
1200 Vanier Pkwy
Ottawa, ON K1A OR2

Better Business Bureau
4200 Wilson Blvd, 8th Fl
Arlington, VA 22203

ISOSG
225 N. Humphreys Blvd
Memphis, TN 38161-0001

BBB of Quebec
1370 Notre-Dame W
Montreal, QC H3C-1K8


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 56
Correction: I meant that the "buyer" was probably as fake as "Linda" or "Maureen"


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 Post subject: Lucas Van Zenten
PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:03 am
Posts: 6
Location: Northern California
Thank you for those addresses. Yes, I will begin to send complaints to these agencies. I'm also in the process of locating a reputable gem source so I can try to recoup some of my losses.

_________________
In my Jeep or on my feet,
nothing like the mountains!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 6:45 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 56
I hope that we can help shut these guys down. Problem is, they can just open shop under a new name and go right on. Oh well - if they can live with it.......


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 Post subject: Kick
PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 56
I want to keep this entry active, if that's ok, so that it will continue to show up in Google searches.

Thanks to those who run this site!

emdee


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 Post subject: LVZ
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:48 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:24 am
Posts: 8
I have also bought emeralds from LVZ. Still trying to sell them. Every time I get close to selling one in the "database" the market goes bad and I end up starting all over again. I will see if their "online auction" brings results. I would like to at least get something back from the small fortune I spent - may not be much to some people but was a large investment for me.


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 Post subject: Be careful, prospector
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:02 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 56
The contract you sign to have the stones listed at their website says that LVZ gets 5% of your selling price -- haven't they already gotten enough of your money? I'd be afraid that the seller would turn out to be a fraud and then you'd still be out the 5% before you realized it.


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 Post subject: Website down!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 56
The Lucas Van-Zenten website has undergone many changes - the auction page has been "suspended until further notice" and there's a message that says they cannot "render assistance" in resales of gems at this time.

They've flown the coop, it seems --- the question is: have they simply reopened with a different name?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:03 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:22 pm
Posts: 13
Hello, there, everyone. I am also a heavy investor in this company's items, and I as well as you would like (or at this particular point in my life, pretty closely need) my money to be successful. I hope what I have to say here can give some of you some hope, and prevent our minds from assuming the worst.

I was able to speak with one of the agents (who for her privacy will remain nameless), who has invested more than 15 years of her career in the company, on the telephone. She was gracious enough to bare a lot of the truth to me. Here is what I was told.

The owner and chief certifier of their contracted laboratory, Larry Eisenberg, a man who has more than 30 years of experience in his field and with whom they have trusted and dealt for more than 15 years, was arrested for fraud of gem certifications. He has been arraigned in Canada. Because of this arrest, his certifications can no longer be assumed to be valid. What this means is that the sale of any gems on the certifications that his lab made can call the seller (regardless of who the seller is--even you or I) into a charge of fraud as well.

I have been asked to take one or more of my pieces to a local gemologist and have it recertified, and to send a copy of that report to Lucas Van Zenten. This will empower them to build their own case, present evidence against Mr. Eisenberg, see that justice is done. This I will be glad to do. Events will proceed from there.

I'd like you to imagine if the company you work for right now went through this chain of events:

- A reputable certifier and recognized expert in his field, who has more than 30 years of experience and with whom you have trusted and dealt for more than 15 years, is arrested for fraud.

- The arrest for fraud necessitates the assumption that any of his certifications--which were passed through your company and to your thousands of clients--are now questionable. This being the case, any sales made by anyone o (including the clients selling their own pieces) could entangle them in the charge of fraud as well.

- News spreads, and people just ship from your company all over the place, because they don't want their name (not just the company name, but their own personal legal name) tarnished--nor should it be, for the fault is not theirs. This leaves only a skeleton crew to handle the thousands of clients. This is the reason for much delay in answering and returning phone calls from clients.

- If you are loyal to the company and your clients, such as the agent with whom I spoke, and choose to weather the storm and face the music and try to set things right, then it is in the best interests of all involved to tell your clients of the situation, ask them to not sell any pieces to anyone under the assumptions of the original certificates, and ask your cilents to have some pieces recertified, and send copies of the new reports to you. This will empower you to present evidence against the fraudulent certifier and bring him to justice.

All of that makes sense, doesn't it? All of that is the correct and upstanding thing to do if you are a part of that deceived company, isn't it?

I admire this agent who has chosen to weather the storm and tell me what has happened, and I intend to see this through. Remember that the measure of a man (or woman) is not made when the sun is shining. The measure is made in the darkest hour. That is when you find out what you are made of.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:22 pm
Posts: 13
By the by, I should add that when I have my pieces recertified by a local gemologist, they may certainly turn out to be exactly what Mr. Eisenberg's lab said. At this point only Mr. Eisenberg knows how many falsifications were made.


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 Post subject: For gemster
PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 56
Gemster - I don't doubt your sincerity but I also don't believe what you've been told. First of all, the arrest you were told about was not made in Canada. Secondly, I don't think LVZ is a company that is 15 years old. Also, what you've said doesn't explain Starkman's listings on his website to resell items until recently. Why did his email, for example, go from a lvz email address to a hotmail account?

My advice is to stay away from anyone associated with this scamming company because they will continue to take your money as long as you will allow them to do so.

Once you open that sealed gem to have it reevaluated, you do know that you could not use it against anyone who has scammed you, don't you? After opening it, you have then exposed it to any number of reasons that it then becomes unusable for prosecution. Don't take that chance, in myopinion.


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 Post subject: Not in business 15 years
PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 56
According to this link: http://www.bbbonline.org/cks.asp?id=1050511115344

the company has been in business since 1997 - not 15 years.

Also, "Mr. Starkman" told me he'd been in business 7 years.


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 Post subject: court case?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:00 pm
Posts: 10
Location: New Jersey
Does anyone have any specifics about the court case referred to above -- jurisdiction, docket number, prosecutor? Any contact telephone numbers for anyone involved in the investigation/prosecution? A family member who invested in LVC gemstones has recently learned about these circumstances. I am heartsick on his behalf and cannot advise him what to do without knowing more about the legal issues involved. Thanks for any help.


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