IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) — A federal court in Texas has sentenced five men who purchased jewelry stolen from a traveling diamond salesman to a combined 190 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $7 million in restitution.

The men fenced jewels obtained in robberies committed by a so-called “South American Theft and Robbery Group” — a violent criminal enterprise that targeted traveling jewelry salesman across the U.S.

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Romelio Rivieron pled guilty in March 2020 to engaging in a conspiracy to launder money. Co-conspirators Elkin Acosta Lopez and Harrinson Corredor both pled guilty in 2019 to the same charge.

Rubenhay Pinkhasov pled guilty to engaging in 2019 to conspiracy to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce. Yuri Alishaev, who conspired with Pinkhasov, pled guilty to misprision (concealment) of a felony and was sentenced to probation.

According to court documents, the men were involved in laundering money for a band of violent jewel thieves, including several who robbed a traveling jewelry salesman at gunpoint before beating him to death in Irving, Texas.

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In plea papers, Lopez admitted he regularly flew from his hometown in Bogota, Colombia to Texas in order to meet up with the robbers to purchase stolen jewelry. He then traveled to New York City to melt down the jewelry before either arranging for its sale in the U.S. or returning to Colombia to sell. In March 2018, special agents from the FBI Dallas Field Office’s Violent Crime Task Force arrested Lopez at a New York airport.

Corredor, who also went by the name “Mono,” admitted he connected Lopez with the robbers and helped broker the sales.

Like Lopez, Riveron admitted he traveled from his home in Miami, Florida to Texas and other states in order to purchase stolen diamonds from the robbers.

Alishaev, a prominent jewelry dealer, admitted that he agreed to purchase stolen diamonds from Pinkhasov, who had acquired jewels worth over $1,000,000 from Colombian SATG members.

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Between 2016 and 2018, through multiple indictments, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas charged a total of 20 SATG robbers who targeted traveling diamond and jewelry salesmen throughout the United States. All 20 have been convicted and sentenced.

CBSDFW.com Staff