A Vestavia Hills jeweler has been sentenced to almost four years in prison following his guilty plea to charges of money laundering and gun possession. Joseph Harold Gandy, 65, has previously been convicted of felony mail fraud, and is prohibited from possessing firearms. Gandy was arrested for the 2013 pawning of jewelry that he had reported stolen in 2004, and when the FBI and police searched his home, they found 99 guns and a portion of the jewelry he had reported stolen.
In 2004, Gandy was the owner of Denman-Crosby Jewelry Store, which was reportedly robbed at gunpoint in December of that year. Due to a loose-diamond promotion the store was running for the holidays, there were many pieces and stones on consignment from other stores on the premises. The Saturday before Christmas, two unidentified men entered the store and asked to view watches. Because 68% of consumers prefer stores to display the prices of watches and jewelry, employees complied. The men then brandished semiautomatic pistols, tied the employees to chairs, and made off with $2.8 million worth of jewelry. Gandy received an insurance payout of $2.6 million, and the store closed.
In 2013, Gandy sent a friend to various jewelry stores to pawn the jewelry that had been reported stolen in the robbery. Gandy received a total of $22,000 for the stones that were sold. He paid his friend a total of $3,880 to complete the transactions.
In addition to his prison sentence of three years and nine months, Gandy was ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution to the jewelers who had accepted the pawned jewelry. He was also required to forfeit the items found in his home and the jewels he had turned over to law enforcement, and to use any money recovered to pay the restitution before it could be used for other expenses.