- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - A western New York jewelry store owner has been sentenced to 23 to 69 years in prison for selling fake diamonds and stealing real ones from customers.

Paul Blarr of the Buffalo suburb of Amherst also must pay nearly $930,000 in restitution.

The former jeweler was sentenced Monday in Erie County Court in Buffalo, where customers described him as a con man who has never apologized.

He pleaded guilty last year to fraud and larceny counts. Prosecutors say there were more than 200 victims going back to 1998.

Blarr’s attorney said his client had unknowingly bought a store that was deeply in debt and that Blarr also had been tricked into buying fake diamonds.

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