By  on April 15, 2011

Ralph Esmerian, once chairman of Fred Leighton, faces up to 30 years in jail after pleading guilty to three counts of fraud in connection with over $210 million in loans and the subsequent bankruptcy of the high-end jeweler.

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Esmerian, 70, embezzled and double-pledged $48 million in jewelry and other assets that were used as collateral for loans to fund his 2006 acquisition of Leighton.

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