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Judge Scott Johns has indicated Alejandro Mendieta Blanco (left) will face a custodial sentence for handling jewellery and watches stolen in the 2017 Melbourne armed robberies.
Judge Scott Johns has indicated Alejandro Mendieta Blanco (left) will face a custodial sentence for handling jewellery and watches stolen in the 2017 Melbourne armed robberies.

Jail likely for gold buyers linked to 2017 store robberies

A Melbourne judge has indicated a custodial sentence is likely for three gold dealers who have pleaded guilty to receiving stolen goods, which were taken from jewellery stores during a spate of armed robberies three years ago.

Alejandro Mendieta Blanco, 34, his brother Julio Mendieta Blanco, 37, and their associate Chey Tenenboim, 39, were initially charged with more than 400 offences each following a raid on their business, Gold Buyers Melbourne, in October 2017.

Police reportedly collected more than 1,900 hours of surveillance footage, while undercover officers were able to sell gold jewellery and watches to Gold Buyers Melbourne for “off the books” payments without showing identification, as is required by law.

"At a hearing at the County Court on 31 July, Judge Scott Johns described the actions of the three men as 'very dishonest, it's brazen, it's audacious. There is no moral compass being applied'"

Earlier this year, all three pleaded guilty to single charges of receiving stolen goods as part of a deal with prosecutors and paid back $165,000.

The Mendieta Blanco brothers are currently free on bail, while Tenenboim’s bail was revoked in mid-July.

At a hearing at the County Court on 31 July, Judge Scott Johns described the actions of the three men as “very dishonest, it's brazen, it's audacious. There is no moral compass being applied.”

He added that they were “acting as a customer for the thief” by running a “particularly lucrative business”; The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald report that Gold Buyers Melbourne turned over $66 million in the 2015-16 financial year.

Judge Johns dismissed a suggestion for community correction order for Alejandro Mendieta Blanco and told his legal representative, Justin Hannebery QC, that his client should prepare to serve a prison term.

Prosecutors are seeking a harsher sentence for Tenenboim as the scale of offending was larger. Last month David Grace QC, acting for Tenenboim, requested a community correction order or a prison term short enough to allow him to return home for his son’s bar mitzvah in November.

However, Judge Johns said that Tenenboim was unlikely to be freed before then.

All three men will be sentenced this month.

 

More reading:
Police drop more than 400 charges against gold dealer linked to jewellery store robberies
Gold dealer connected to jewellery robberies fronts court
Breakthrough in Melbourne jewellery robberies
 











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