December 4, 2023

By Religion Karimi | CNN

Anthony Farrer’s life-style was as flashy as the luxurious wristwatches he bought in Beverly Hills.

His watch consignment enterprise, The Timepiece Gentleman, had a storefront on town’s fabled Rodeo Drive. His purple Lamborghini and his Ducati bikes sat outdoors his lavish rental in Santa Monica. He made frequent playing journeys to Las Vegas, the place he spent tens of hundreds of {dollars}.

Farrer, 35, collected Patek Philippes, Rolexes and different dear timepieces and bought them to collectors. The everyday settlement along with his purchasers netted him a 5% fee on each sale, based on a federal felony grievance obtained by CNN.

Enterprise was thriving, or so his purchasers thought. Farrer displayed watches value as much as $430,00 on social media, the place his 300,000 followers on Instagram and YouTube marveled at his haul.

However it all got here crashing down when FBI brokers arrested him final week for allegedly scamming clients out of $3 million by promoting their fancy watches and pocketing the proceeds. He’s going through prices of wire fraud in what federal paperwork describe as a “luxurious watch Ponzi-type scheme” that occurred between late final 12 months and this summer time.

“A number of victims contacted regulation enforcement to report that they wired funds to Farrer for the acquisition of a watch, or mailed him a watch to consign on the market, however had been by no means paid for the watch or by no means obtained their watch again,” the US Legal professional’s Workplace of the Central District of California stated in an announcement. “Up to now, regulation enforcement estimates that sufferer losses presently whole roughly $3 million.”

Farrer’s legal professional, Erica Choi, didn’t reply to CNN’s requests for remark.

In accordance with federal court docket paperwork, Farrer’s life began unraveling months earlier than his arrest. His upscale life-style allegedly masked his rising cash issues.

His watch enterprise began in Dallas and moved to LA

In court docket paperwork, federal brokers detailed Farrer’s downfall from luxurious watch vendor to alleged scammer.

Farrer began his watch enterprise in Dallas in 2017 and opened a brand new location in Los Angeles in 2022 to attach patrons and sellers of high-end timepieces, a federal assertion stated.

Simply months after his transfer to California, round November of 2022, the felony grievance states he started defrauding clients by promising to promote their luxurious watches for a fee. Then, as a substitute of giving them the cash after the gross sales, he’d hold it for himself.

“He would sometimes gather a watch from a person and have them signal a consignment settlement that stipulated he would gather a fee from the sale, sometimes 5%,” the grievance stated.

As his luxurious watch enterprise appeared to develop, clients started to accuse him of vanishing with their watches or cash, and shared complaints on Reddit and YouTube.

This August, regulation enforcement visited Farrer’s retailer in Beverly Hills and found it was now not in operation. Its doorbell digital camera was ripped off, and constructing safety advised investigators no staff had proven up for work in per week.

“Round this identical time, Farrer had been posting on social media, and primarily based on these posts, he seems to have been touring to varied areas together with South Carolina, Colorado, Texas and Florida,” federal paperwork stated.

Investigators stated Farrer pocketed clients’ cash from the watch gross sales and used it to take care of his lavish life-style. Some patrons would wire him funds to safe particular luxurious watches and by no means obtained the watch — or acquired their a reimbursement, the grievance stated. At instances, court docket paperwork stated, Farrer would ship clients items that had been totally different from what they’d requested.

One buyer advised investigators that Farrer supplied to repay a cash debt utilizing a Rolex watch. Courtroom paperwork state the Rolex really belonged to a different buyer who’d given it to Farrer to promote on consignment.

Investigators stated they talked to greater than 20 purchasers who’d both despatched Farrer cash to purchase a watch or mailed him a watch on the market. One alleged sufferer stated he consigned 75 watches to Farrer value about $3.2 million. Farrer later paid the shopper a fraction of the full worth — about $385,000 — and used a few of the watches as collateral for a $300,000 mortgage, court docket paperwork stated.

He posted a video confessing to a ‘pretend’ life-style and hundreds of thousands in debt

Farrer shared his rise along with his tons of of hundreds of followers on Instagram and YouTube.

He showcased watches in his swanky Beverly Hills showroom, shared pictures on his web site and posted Instagram pictures of his wrists lined up with Rolexes, Swiss luxurious watches and different items.

In point of fact-show kind movies, he shared glimpses of his day by day life, together with high-dollar telephone offers along with his clients and mundane issues like his day by day gymnasium routine and dinner in fancy eating places.

He additionally revealed his checkered previous. He talked about time spent in jail and painted an image of a flawed ex-felon who’d put the previous behind him and risen to the highest of his occupation. Courtroom information obtained by CNN present Farrer was sentenced to jail in 2015 for DWI and in 2008 for evading arrest in Texas.

When accusations of Farrer’s duplicity grew, he got here clear on social media about a few of his dealings. In August, he posted a video of himself in a kitchen carrying a tank prime and a baseball hat. Within the clip he gave a long-winded confession of his enterprise failings, saying stated he’d grown accustomed to the wealth and life-style he attained, had a playing downside and had fallen into debt.

He claimed he owed clients about $5 million, saying that greater than half of the debt was to 2 purchasers alone.

“I’ve battled with demons and I’ve let stuff get the perfect of me and I’ve made a number of dangerous selections. I made a number of dumb errors,” he stated within the video.

“Simply residing this pretend life-style, this, ‘Have a look at me. I’m sensible, I’m profitable,’ you recognize, maintaining appearances. It’s consuming me alive. … I acquired just a little style of success and by no means wished to neglect that feeling.”

The one-time luxurious watch vendor is presently being held with out bail at a federal jail in Los Angeles, awaiting his arraignment in December, Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesperson for the US Legal professional’s Workplace, advised CNN.

If he’s discovered responsible of wire fraud, Farrer faces a most sentence of 20 years in federal jail. Investigators are interviewing extra purchasers to find out the magnitude of the alleged scheme.

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