A Beverly Hills businessman who operated a luxury watch consignment store and was known as the “Timepiece Gentleman” was charged this week with wire fraud after duping customers out of an estimated $3 million, federal prosecutors said.
FBI agents arrested Anthony Farrer, 35, at a Venice storage facility on Tuesday, the day after he was charged in a federal criminal complaint that alleges he conned customers in a Ponzi-like scheme from late 2022 until this past summer, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California said in a news release.
Farrer founded his business, “Gentlemen Timepieces,” in Texas in 2017 and opened a location on Beverly Hills’ iconic Rodeo Drive in 2022.
He would collect a luxury watch from a seller and have them sign a consignment agreement that stipulated he’d collect a commission for reselling it, prosecutors said. The typical commission was 5%. Instead of giving the proceeds from the sales back to customers, he allegedly kept them to fund his luxury lifestyle, according to the complaint.
Farrer lived in a luxury rental property, drove a Lamborghini and Ducati motorcycles and frequently traveled to Las Vegas to gamble, the complaint said.
Court records allege he also had buyers wire funds for the purchase of luxury watches, only to send them watches different from those they agreed to purchase
In one case, a victim received a Rolex watch from Farrer instead of the money Farrer owed them. That Rolex actually belonged to another customer who gave the watch to Farrer to sell on consignment and did not authorize him to use the watch as payment for his debts to other victims, according to the complaint.
Multiple people contacted law enforcement to report that they wired money to Farrer to purchase a watch or mailed him a watch to consign for sale, prosecutors said in the news release. They were never paid back or never received their watch, according to the release. In total, law enforcement estimated victim losses at $3 million.
The investigation is ongoing and authorities are still identifying additional victims.
Farrer abandoned the Beverly Hills store in August, and began posting about his travels throughout the U.S. on social media, prosecutors said. As recently as last month he was still advertising watches for sale on his social media platforms, according to the complaint.
Farrer made his initial appearance in court Wednesday. His arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 14.