Gold dealer admits to News 2 illegal gold buy
DENHAM SPRINGS - A gold dealer jailed for an illegal gold buy from an undercover officer admitted to News 2 he knew the buy was illegal, but did it anyway, because he was frazzled.
Ahmed "Al" Asmar was charged by the Denham Springs Police Department last week because detectives said he never asked for identification, then paid with cash instead of a check when he purchased a gold ring from an undercover officer last week.
That is against secondhand dealer laws, which require photo identification and checks so police can track stolen merchandise.
Asmar said he had "so many things in his head" he didn't think to ask for ID last week when the undercover officer came in. That's because he lost power to his business, "We Buy Gold," and was unable to use the scanner he normally uses to copy driver licenses.
"It was a mistake!" Asmar told News 2. "I take license, I pay checks, and that's it... since I opened, I don't buy anything without license-- if you don't have license, I don't buy it."
When Asmar walked to the front of his business to see why our cameras were there, he said he did ask for the woman's ID, but she left without giving it to him. Inside his business, Asmar changed his story.
When we asked why he did not even ask to look at the woman's ID, Asmar said, "I told you, it happened fast, so many things in his head. Two days, no power."
Asmar believes police set him up, but police said he knew well what the laws are. Investigators gave Asmar a copy of the secondhand law last September when they cited him for similar gold buys that were reported and tracked by other police departments.
"He wasn't telling the truth," Captain Steve Kistler told News 2.
Because police said Asmar broke the law twice, both the state and the city could choose not to renew his business license, or could pull it altogether. Additionally, he could face fines or time in jail.
Asmar said he's learned his lesson.
"We're only human," Asmar said.