A 35-year-old man from Los Angeles, known as “The Timepiece Gentleman,” who operated a luxury watch consignment business in Beverly Hills was arrested Tuesday by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on charges of defrauding customers out of an estimated $3 million, authorities announced on Wednesday.
Anthony Farrer founded his business, Gentlemen Timepieces, in Texas in 2017 and opened his Beverly Hills location in 2022, according to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office.
Until recently, the 35-year-old lived in a luxury rental apartment in downtown L.A., was known to drive a Lamborghini and Ducati motorcycles and traveled frequently to gamble in Las Vegas.
Between late 2022 until the summer of 2023, Farrer promised customers he would sell their high-end luxury watches on consignment and collect a 5% commission on the sale, federal officials said. However, instead of giving his customers their money after the sale, he kept the proceeds for himself.
The so-called Timepiece Gentleman is also accused of luring buyers into wiring money to purchase a specific watch and then sending them a different one. In one case, authorities said Farrer used one customer’s Rolex watch, which he’d agreed to sell on consignment, to pay off a debt to another person in lieu of the money he owed even though he had no permission to do so.
“Farrer operated a scheme in a similar manner to a Ponzi scheme and would lull victims into a sense of security by engaging in smaller successful transactions prior to requesting or engaging in significantly larger transactions,” the federal complaint alleges.
In August, Farrer reportedly abandoned his Beverly Hills store, but stayed active on social media, posting about his various travels throughout the U.S. and advertising watches for sale as recently as October.
Multiple customers contacted law enforcement, reporting that they were defrauded out of money wired or luxury watches mailed to Farrer. While investigators estimate the current victim losses to be $3 million, the investigation is ongoing, and authorities are working to identify additional victims.
The 35-year-old was arrested on Nov. 7 by FBI agents at a storage facility in Venice and was held overnight. He is facing charges of felony wire fraud, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
His arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 14.