The jig is up for one Los Angeles watch dealer.
FBI agents arrested Anthony Farrer, founder of a business called The Timepiece Gentleman, last week, alleging that he scammed his customers out of $3 million. Through his high-end consignment business on Rodeo Drive, the 35-year-old is accused of having sold luxury watches belonging to clients and pocketed the proceeds for himself. He’s now facing charges of wire fraud in what federal documents describe as a “luxury watch Ponzi-type scheme” that went on from the end of 2022 until this summer, CNN reports.
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Farrer reportedly started his business in Dallas in 2017. He later opened a Los Angeles outpost 2022 “to connect buyers and sellers of high-end timepieces,” according to the FBI. The agency’s criminal complaint alleges that Farrer began defrauding customers by promising to sell their luxury watches for a commission. “He would typically collect a watch from an individual and have them sign a consignment agreement that stipulated he would collect a commission from the sale, typically 5 percent,” the complaint notes.
Watches he agreed to sell included everything from Patek Philippes and Rolexes to references from Vacheron Constantin and Richard Mille. As Farrer’s business began to grow, complaints left on Reddit and YouTube began to accuse him of vanishing with their watches or money. Over 20 clients spoke with investigators, confirming they sent Farrer money to buy a watch or mailed him pieces for sale—and were never paid what they were owed.
One victim told authorities he cosigned 75 watches worth about $3.2 million with The Timepiece Gentleman. Farrer paid the client a fraction of the price, about $385,000, and used some of the watches as collateral for a $300,000 loan, court documents claim. Investigators say he used the stolen funds to maintain a lavish lifestyle, which reportedly included a red Lamborghini, Ducati motorcycles, an upscale Santa Monica rental, plus gambling trips to Las Vegas.
“To date, law enforcement estimates that victim losses currently total approximately $3 million,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California says in a statement. No one could predict the outcome of their interactions with Farrer, but he was known to share his colorful past with his 300,000 followers across Instagram and YouTube. Court records obtained by CNN show he was sentenced to prison in 2015 for driving while intoxicated and in 2008 for evading arrest in Texas, both of which he talked openly with his followers.
Most recently, he posted a YouTube video in August that shined light on his business failings and issues with debt. “Just living this fake lifestyle. It’s eating me alive,” he says in the video. “I got a little taste of success and never wanted to forget that feeling.” If he’s found guilty of wire fraud, Farrer faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
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