Despite some lawyer crowing on about dismissals on social media, they are few and far between. We cherish them because they are rare. Our client received a just result this week. Mike McConnell of the Daily Tribune and The Oakland Press did an excellent job covering this case in which Rockind Law defended the owner of a pawn shop. When the charges were authorized, he wrote articles about the case and out of fairness, when the charges were dismissed, wrote an article about the dismissal. Here is the story.
Charges dismissed against Hazel Park pawnshop owner
Charges of organized retail fraud have been dismissed against Steven Smolkin, owner of Simon’s Jewelry & Loan pawn shop on John R in Hazel Park. Charges against two employees, however, are still pending.
Mike McConnell – Daily Tribune
Charges of organized retail fraud have been dismissed against Steven Smolkin, owner of Simon’s Jewelry & Loan pawn shop on John R in Hazel Park. Charges against two employees, however, are still pending. Mike McConnell – Daily Tribune
Criminal charges against a Hazel Park pawnshop owner were dismissed this week following a court hearing where a Michigan State Police detective testified about an undercover investigation at the store.
Hazel Park 43rd Circuit Judge Charles Goedert dismissed a charge of organized retail fraud against Steven Smolkin, owner of Simon’s Jewelry & Loan, 24884 John R, on Tuesday.
Smolkin, 44, of West Bloomfield, was initially charged last month along with employees Arkadiy Vaks, 62, of West Bloomfield and Oleg Vhdanov, 50.
Charges against the two employees remain and they were ordered to stand trial in Oakland County Circuit Court following a preliminary examination before Goedert.
Undercover state police investigators visited Smolkin’s pawnshop at least three times last year as part of their investigation.
“There was no evidence that (Smolkin) knew or believed that the property he was buying was stolen or came from a store,” said his attorney Neil Rockind.
The charge against Smolkin stemmed from the undercover investigator’s visit to the pawnshop March 3 where he reportedly sold some drills to the pawnshop.
Rockind said the detective conceded that he tried get Smolkin to bypass part of the process pawnshop owners are legally required to follow when buying merchandise.
But Smolkin insisted on entering all of the information on the sale, including the seller’s identification, in a state police database for pawnshops designed to protect against stolen property being sold, Rockind added.
Hazel Park police closed the pawnshop Dec. 22 for operating without a business license, the same day that Smolkin and two employees were arraigned and freed on personal bond.
Later, the city allowed the store to open on a temporary basis for customers that wanted to buy back items they had pawned at the store before it was closed.
It is unclear at this point whether the pawnshop will be able to get a business license to operate from the city and reopen the pawnshop on a permanent basis.
Rockind said Smolkin is working with a business attorney on the matter.
City Manager Ed Klobucher has said the city considers issues of criminality, among other factors, before granting a business licenses.
The charges of organized retail fraud that remain against the two pawnshop employees are each punishable by up to five years in prison.
The law makes it a felony for a person to receive or purchase retail merchandise for sale or resale knowing or believing it has been stolen from a retail merchant.