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Jeweler Sentenced to 40 Years

June 8, 2000 GMT

MIAMI (AP) _ A jeweler who scammed his rich and famous customers out of millions was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday and ordered to pay more than $78 million in restitution.

Jack Hasson, 48, was convicted in February of fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice for selling altered and overpriced jewelry to customers including golfers Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman.

Hasson must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, meaning he will be imprisoned until he is at least 81.

Nicklaus testified in February, rebuffing Hasson’s claim that he had acted as an intermediary between Hasson and the Sultan of Brunei. Norman testified in January that he paid Hasson $48,875 for a pin that he later learned was worth only $7,000.

Former Detroit television station owner Aben Johnson lost most of $83 million he spent on gems.

Co-defendants Scott Colton, an attorney who laundered $26 million for Hasson, and Jimmy Speiser, Hasson’s store manager, pleaded guilty to fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice. They are awaiting sentencing.