Man charged with attempting to sell fake gold

April 15, 2014 Posted by admin

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) — A Montgomery, Alabama man has been charged after authorities say he attempted to sell counterfeit gold jewelry to an off-duty police officer.

Lowndes County investigators say Dornell Little, 49, approached the officer in the parking lot of a business on Highway 45 North.

They say Little had 10 jewelry pieces with stamps to indicate they were real when it fact they were not.

Little is charged with felony sale of goods bearing a counterfeit stamp.

Bond was set at $10,000.

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Why the 2014 Proof Sets Are Hot

April 14, 2014 Posted by admin

Proof sets—in particular this one—are a must-have for any serious coin collector. Last month the US Mint released the official 2014 proof set. And despite the release of popular coins like the Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative and the Golden Eagle, it’s very likely that this year’s proof set will be 2014’s top-selling coin product.

Though not equaling the whopping 389,905 early orders for the Baseball Hall of Fame coin, the 2014 proof set sales are nothing to sneeze at. Initial sales are slightly higher than last year’s, debuting at over 200,000. Issued by the San Francisco mint, the set includes 14 coins. All of the coins—aside from some of the presidential coins—were created as part of different commemorative coin acts intended to celebrate US history.

The Native American $1 Coin honors the native tribes of the Pacific Northwest who played an important part in Lewis and Clark’s journey.

The presidents honored on the 2014 Presidential $1 Coin releases are as follows:

  • Warren G. Harding
  • Calvin Coolidge
  • Herbert Hoover
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt

The annual America the Beautiful quarter releases for 2014 feature the following national parks:

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Quarter in Tennessee
  • Shenandoah National Park Quarter in Virginia
  • Arches National Park Quarter in Utah
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park Quarter in Colorado
  • Everglades National Park Quarter in Florida

Later in April, the Mint will release a silver proof set at a slightly higher cost.

Though all of these coins will be in regular circulation, experienced coin collectors know the value of buying a proof set. Circulated coins are not the same quality as Mint-issued proof sets because of the extra-shiny finish found on proof set coins. It creates a mirror effect on the background and makes the frosted image in the foreground jump off the coin.

With the release of the 2014 proof set, the Baseball Hall of Fame Coin and the Golden Eagle Coin, it’s safe to say this spring is coin season! If you coin aficionados ever want to talk about coins, come down to Bellevue Rare Coins. We could talk coins all day long.

Bellevue Rare Coins specializes in gold buying and dealing in rare coins. We are a family-owned business located in Bellevue and Lynnwood. We also buy and sell silver, diamonds, currency and jewelry. Visit us first for a free evaluation.

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Whitman second-hand shop gets computer tracking system

April 13, 2014 Posted by admin

Joseph Markman

The Enterprise

Posted Apr. 12, 2014 @ 9:03 pm
Updated Apr 12, 2014 at 10:24 PM

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What You Need to Know if You Want to Sell Your Diamonds

April 12, 2014 Posted by admin


Selling your diamonds can be a stressful experience if you don’t have the foundational information regarding pricing and how the diamond market is performing. There are many factors to consider when setting a price. However, knowing the basics can go a long way in helping you to decide how to make the best diamond sale for your individual needs. Here are the fundamental basics you need to know if you want to sell your diamonds.

Diamond prices are stable

While the price of gold has taken a rollercoaster ride in recent years, diamond prices have enjoyed smooth sailing over the course of 2013/14. Two years ago, the value of an ounce of gold was approximately $1800. Now, it stands at approximately $1300 –that’s a third less than what it once was. Diamonds, on the other hand, have fewer fluctuations in their traded values – as you can see in the graph below. Matthew Howe, the General Manager of the diamond buying company WP Diamonds, states that “While there is no universally accepted index for the value of aftermarket diamonds, the industry consensus is that second-hand diamond prices have been stable and continue to hold their value.”

To demonstrate, IDEX Online Research data indicates that there has been an increase of 2-3 percent in retail sales in the U.S in 2013, following an increase from previous years in retail jewelry sales. This occurs in a context where the average annual production of rough diamonds will grow to 4.8 percent in 2018, according to Bain  Company. The IDEX polished price index shows that prices of polished diamonds, fresh to the market, have remained broadly stable over the course of 2013.


Certificates for Diamonds are important 

Diamonds, like any other asset that retains significant value are a traded commodity and now have a growing secondary market. All of this means that more and more people are looking to sell their diamond jewelry. The timing is good if you are looking to sell, but having a basic understanding of the factors that affect value is important. The “Four Cs” are the basic characteristics that affect the value of any diamond (cut, color, clarity and carat). It is also important to be aware that the documentation you have to accompany your diamond will govern the experience you have during the sale process. Whether someone has a certificate from an international laboratory, jeweler’s appraisal or no paperwork at all, his or her diamond can still be resold; the process simply may differ.

Certificates from international labs: A certificate from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is seen as the most trusted certificate in the diamond industry. The GIA is respected worldwide for its tough but accurate grading standards. A company wishing to purchase a stone simply needs to obtain a copy of the certificate to give you a very accurate price range that they are willing to pay to purchase your stone.

As a result, your sales can be conducted quickly and easily as you can rely on the original price range. Most diamond buyers will recertify non GIA certified stones through the GIA. Stones bought with a GIA certificate can be traded instantly. Other certificates from the AGS (American Gems Society), IGI (International Gemological Institute) or EGL (European Gemological Laboratory) are also helpful to have, since these too, are industry-recognized labs. Remember though that diamond grading is subjective and may have different results in different labs. The EGL for example, is renowned for being generous by one color or clarity, and sometimes more. The AGS and IGI on the other hand, are closer to GIA standards on a consistent basis. These labs give you a very good idea of the characteristics of your stone but are subject to some variance from GIA standards. The implication of this is that a company looking to buy will give you a wider price range to cope with this variance. Companies like WP Diamonds will still request that you send in your item for evaluation to ensure that the diamond is graded to GIA standards.

Jeweler’s appraisal: A jewelry appraisal (also known as a jewelry valuation) is a document you may receive from a high end jeweler or jewelry appraiser that describes the item of jewelry being valued and then gives a value that the item should be insured for. The appraisal should describe the jewelry item stating an estimated diamond weight, an approximate color and clarity of the diamond (which is usually given as a range, for example H-J color, SI1/SI2 clarity etc.), the weight and type of metal the jewelry is made from and any other gemstones details. The document is the opinion of the jeweler in question and a result of the training and experience of that individual jeweler. It is not as reliable as a laboratory produced document where grading standards are stricter and tightly controlled. This all means that a diamond buying company will produce a much wider range of prices to cope with what can be large variations in the color and clarity grading. Also, jewelers appraisals do not have the ‘cut grade’ which is a large factor in determining price.

To learn more about the importance of ‘cut grade’, please visit this link regarding Cut Grading considerations:

No certificate: You may own diamond jewelry for which you have lost the associated paperwork, or you may have inherited a diamond and have no idea what the characteristics are. If you are in this situation, how do you go about selling it when most companies need to know the characteristics of the diamond before giving you a price? The biggest issue you face is that you won’t be able to obtain a price range before you make an appointment to sell or send your diamond for sale. Without the “Four Cs” it is impossible for any company to provide you with a sensible price range. Some companies will pay for the diamond to be shipped and then make you an offer, but it can be challenging to find companies willing to do this. Your other option is to take the diamond to a local jeweler to obtain a verbal appraisal if getting some idea of price is important before you try and sell. You could also send your stone to the GIA for certification, but it costs money and takes time to have your diamond certified. The choice is yours.

You can sell your diamond, regardless of what certifications you have, but it is important to understand the implications of your certificate. With a GIA certificate, the range will be much tighter than with other certificates, where certain characteristics might not be known, producing a wider estimate range. The accuracy of your certificate will determine where your offer falls within the range provided; an accurate certificate will land you on the higher end, whereas inaccuracies in your certificate may place your offer lower. Whether you have certification or not, you will be asked to send in your item for evaluation or make an appointment with a buyer. All buyers will need to check the grading and also inspect the stone for damage. Damage to a diamond will significantly hurt the value.

There are many factors that are considered when selling your diamond and being knowledgeable about diamond grading certificates will help you to better understand what to expect. To ensure that you receive the most accurate pricing and best possible service, it is key to work with a company that holds itself to strict industry standards and has a team of experts that grades to GIA standards and can guide you through the sale process.


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Letter: Emergency Fund made a difference for local senior

April 11, 2014 Posted by admin

Posted Apr. 10, 2014 @ 9:01 pm


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MASS MOST WANTED: Randolph theft

April 10, 2014 Posted by admin

Posted Apr. 9, 2014 @ 10:50 pm
Updated at 1:20 PM

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Diamond scam may have included gold and fake gems

April 9, 2014 Posted by admin

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Amherst Police say more customers are discovering problems with jewelry from RSNP Diamond Exchange, in the Village of Williamsville.

Last month, shop owner Paul Blarr pleaded not guilty to three counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud. He allegedly sold fake diamonds to customers. Prosecutors now say they have about 50 people who claim they’re victims.

Police say customers from the past 20 years are calling other precious gemstones into question that have been purchased at or repaired by the store. Police say some gold items were found be gold-plated instead of solid gold, some gems were switched or not the quality of what they purchased, and some diamonds were enhanced.

But police say not all of the customers who have been tricked may have been found. Some customers had diamonds tested without the equipment that identifies Moissanite, a man-made substance that mimics a real diamond.

Scanlon’s Jewelers has been testing jewelry from Blarr’s store for free. The store uses several different methods to determine a real from a fake, including using a microscope and then a heat test, which can identify Moissanite.

In just the past two weeks, Scanlon’s has tested more than 300 diamonds, and they say at least 40 of them have turned out to be fakes.

“Most fine jewelers don’t have experience with it because we don’t sell it,” said Todd Scanlon of Scanlon’s Jewelers. “There have been some really horrible things done, from brides- and grooms-to-be that took loans out for stones that they haven’t even paid off to I had a terminal cancer patient buy something for his wife and instructed her to wear it after he passed away and then give it to his daughter so daddy could give her the ring when she got married and it was $7,000 and it was fake.”

Amherst Police are encouraging anyone who had any jewelry – diamonds, gold or other gemstones – bought from or repaired at RSNP Diamond Exchange to have them tested at a reputable jeweler.

Scanlon says if you’re making a big purchase, ask for certification from a reputable lab before putting your money down.

“You want to go to more than one store, all the time. I’d love you to come here only, shop the pricing. If someone is ridiculously low on something there’s probably something wrong,” he said.

Anyone who had items at RSNP Diamond Exchange for repair only, can now call the law office of Charles Marchese (716-845-6446) to arrange to pick up your property.

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Police have more bad news for customers of Williamsville jeweler

April 8, 2014 Posted by admin

It’s looking like the fake diamonds allegedly sold by a Williamsville jeweler were only the tip of the iceberg.

Other precious gemstones purchased or repaired during the past 20 years at the former RSNP Diamond Exchange on Main Street are being called into question, Amherst police said this morning. And some gold items were found to be gold-plated instead of solid gold.

Police have essentially issued an all-points-bulletin for people who’ve done business with RSNP Diamond Exchange and its predecessor, Amherst Diamond Exchange, to have their jewelry examined.

“Not only the diamonds, but everything else should be checked,” said Amherst Police Capt. Enzio G. Villalta.

Each report in the investigation of jeweler Paul Blarr, who already has been charged with three felony counts of grand larceny and one of scheme to defraud, is being forwarded to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, the captain said.

District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III declined to comment this morning.

Blarr, 47, is accused of selling fake diamonds for the prices of real ones. And, police said, he apparently took authentic diamonds that customers gave him to sell on consignment, sold them at pawnshops and pocketed the money, police said.

Among his unwitting victims were several police officers, it previously was reported. More than 100 former customers already have contacted police.

“Some of them are going back several years,” Villalta said, who noted that most of the victims live locally.

Police, who announced Blarr’s arrest in late March, had more bad news for customers today.

Testing has found other man-made substances instead of diamonds, police said. So-called enhanced diamonds, produced when treatments are performed on natural diamonds to improve their visual characteristics, were not identified as such at the time of purchase – as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

In addition, former RSNP customers who have been having their items tested have learned the gemstones may have been switched, or aren’t the quality of what they had purchased, police said.

Police advised that customers who had their items deemed to be diamonds through testing should have them tested again. Outdated equipment or failure to specifically test for Moissanite, a man-made substance, may have resulted in false positives.

Villalta said: “If you feel that you may be a victim, make sure that you have all items of jewelry tested, and to make sure when testing for diamonds, the test includes Moissanite.”

Anyone who had items at RSNP Diamond Exchange for repair only can call the office of Charles Marchese, Blarr’s attorney, to arrange pickup of their property. That number is (716) 845-6446.

Marchese has said Blarr himself was a victim, “spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy gems he thought were real.”


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Why I REALLY Moved to Puerto Rico, and You Should Too

April 7, 2014 Posted by admin

– Posted Monday, 7 April 2014 | | Disqus

By Alex Daley, Chief Technology Investment Strategist

Much fuss was made yesterday when my colleague Nick Giambruno released a report outlining the incredible tax benefits to be had, by Americans no less (the only people in the world to be taxed back home even when we leave), in Puerto Rico.

As you may have seen, that report was based in large part on my personal experience relocating to the island, a process I started in earnest last October. And, yes, I am here, writing you at this moment from beautiful Palmas Del Marif you ask me, the most beautiful piece of coastland on the island, but only just being rediscovered after a long hiatus from the spotlight.

What can I say, I love a comeback story, especially when it looks like this

Yes, my decision to move to Puerto Rico was influenced by the tax incentives. But they were only one contributing factor. Why I chose to land in Puerto Rico is much more nuanced than that.

It all boils down to one thing: Opportunity.

Everyone likes to save on taxes. Thats a given. But if Ive learned one thing in my short business life thus far: its that its always better to make $4 than to save $2.

No disparagement intended to Ben Franklin, but a penny saved is not a penny earned. Not if, in the time and effort saving it took, you couldve created two or four or eight more pennies for yourself.

Im here in Puerto Rico because I believe it will provide me with the opportunity to make many more pennies.

Heres why.

Infrastructure and Convenience

Unlike many other low-tax jurisdictions, Puerto Rico is in the unique position of having been a US territory for a century now. That means all sorts of things, from familiar legal systems to easy travel. But one of the most surprising implications is that US companies and even certain US government agencies have a presence down here.

My town is a few miles down the road from the worlds fourth-busiest Walmart. There is a Costco here. Closer, in fact, than the one we had in Vermont. Theres also a CartierIm not much of a jewelry buyer, but you get my point. Many if not most of the conveniences of the US are to be had here.

And the same goes for far more than shopping. The highways across the island are much like in the US, including, unfortunately, the traffic into and out of the big city. But Ill take that any day over the frightening, windy back roads that litter Jamaica, Grenada, St. Kitts, the Caymans, and many of the other places considered before settling on this place. And gas here is just a tiny fraction more expensive than back in the States.

Of course, roads rarely matter for me since I work from home, where my simple Internet connection is at least 10 times faster than the one in the office in Vermontcourtesy of Liberty cable. My cell phone, on ATT, works much better here too.

Whats not the same here (they have the FBI, DEA, etc.) is at least comfortingly familiar (courts, MPH speed limits, and AutoExpreso, i.e., EZPass). But most importantly, its fully developed. Theres no grass hut customs office, no lack of a UPS storethe entire infrastructure needed to run a business well is here.

We tend to lose power often, yes. A few times each month for a few hours at a time. And electricity rates are about twice as high as in the States, though we use so much less of it here without any need for heat and barely any for AC. Still, the power bill can be a drag. But not everything can be perfect, even when the weather is:

86 and sunny. All year. Nuff said.

Though my belly says differently, I like to exercise. I spent the last decade of my life split between some of the rainiest and snowiest locations in the US. And I hate gyms.

Since coming here, Ive lost 14 pounds and counting, just from getting outside to swim, walk, golf, and play tennisactivities that have been closed (to me) most of the year, and that apparently constitute enough caloric burn to make up for my awful, airport-heavy diet. I have more energy, I feel better.

Many people are looking for that same lifestyle. Which, ironically, makes it far easier to recruit talent to the island than to many mainland destinations. Ive already convinced a handful of people to make the move, and Im not even actively hiring down here just yetIm waiting for some red tape to clear.

If youre thinking of starting or expanding a business, think carefully about whether it will be easier to recruit people to the tax-free (state tax-free only, mind you) zone in Albany, NY, to the expensive and tiny island of St. John, or to a country bigger than Rhode Island or Delaware with year-round sunshine.

But its not like I need to recruit that many people here. There are already plenty here.

Labor, Services and Networking

The other day, during one of those intermittent power outages, I took the opportunity to swing up to Sams Club and pick up a few thingsall commercial sites, and most high-end homes, have generators to cope. $400 worth of crap I didnt really need later, I was waiting in line at the checkout, as the obligatory pile of cash was counted out at the register in front of me (almost no one here uses bank accounts or credit cards, and its part of their well-known fiscal troubles).

While waiting, I told my wife about my struggle finding qualified PHP developers. These are jobs that pay $40-50/hour, i.e., $60K to $100K/year, and way up from there. Yet it takes us months to hire for them. The woman behind me in line must have overheard our conversation, because she started asking me if I worked for Palmas and were we hiringshed applied a dozen times already.

She, like many others here, was looking for work. The official unemployment rate is 15%. According to the CIA World Factbook, its 26%. The median household income is also a relatively low $18,000/year. Thats double most places in the Caribbean, but still quite low compared to the States. Looked at societally, thats bad. For a business operator, though, it has distinct advantages.

Yes, with high unemployment comes crime. But the reputation this island has garnered in the States is undeserved. The crime rate in San Juan is about the same as in Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, or Atlanta. Any large city has crime-ridden areas. But like those cities, San Juan has wonderful neighborhoods too. And its surrounded by some beautiful suburbs. Go into the country, like I did, and its calm and quiet and borderline idyllic.

Our community is triple gated (community, development, building), which garners comments from friends and family who visit. But it doesnt need to be. It reminds me of the much more unsightly seven-foot walls with razor wire and broken-glass tops in Spains posher areas, which are 90% to convey status. Once you understand the small cultural differences, not moving here because of crime is like not moving to Missouri because of St. Louis, to Florida because of Miami, or to Tennessee because of Memphis.

When you do go to hire, employment laws are close to the same here as in the States. They have Social Security, Medicare, and workers comp. Workers from the mainland can come here without a visa (and vice versa). Its familiar, yet there is a big labor surplus holding down wages.

Ive been thinking about starting a call center down herejust searching for the right person to run it (Ive got a job I love and dont need another one)as its an ideally suited location:

  • A highly educated population. 94% literacy rate (India is 78%; China 96%). A 67% high school graduation rate (about the same as Florida and Georgia; well above Nevada, Louisiana, Mississippi, etc.). 22% of the working population have college degrees, not far behind the States 33% average and well ahead of many of those same southern states.
  • Better average English skills than India or other common call center locations. 50% English-speaking population, versus 21% in India. In reality, I rarely meet anyone who doesnt speak enough to get along fine with me, a dolt who has yet to learn the language here. But for working purposes, about half the population speaks English.
  • No time zone issues. Its the same time here as Florida or New York (though here they are smart enough not to observe the idiotic tradition of daylight savingsits the same amount of daylight here all year round and I never have to go to or leave work in the dark, let alone do both for months at a time).
  • And plenty of available labor to expand rapidly. The population of Puerto Rico is 3.7 million, a number that is slowly shrinking as more and more people emigrate to the US in search of worksomething they can do freely as all Puerto Rican citizens are US citizens.

One of these dayshopefully soonIll find that call center operator who will work for sweat equity to get things off the ground, or the bootstrap customer to pay them. But the labor is there.

And not just labor for lower-skilled work, either. The island has a very large skilled labor population, too, thanks to that high college degree rate. There are hundreds of law offices, accountants, engineers, and other professional firms. Investment banks, construction companies, you name it. The colleges here are strong in math and business. And virtually any service provider or knowledge worker youd look for in any other major metropolitan area can be found here. Ive even got investment bankers knocking on the door.

Then there are the other entrepreneurs. One of the things that attracted me most to Puerto Rico wasnt the tax incentives themselves, but the idea of living near and collaborating with so many like-minded people. And thats proven as good or better than I hoped. Between everyday social activities and organized mixers like the meetings of the Act 20/22 Society, there has been a non-stop barrage of new people to meet, all of whom are as entrepreneurial as I am. Business ideas floated around dinner, hiring tips over golf, late-night real estate investment discussions, dozens of emails to share investment ideasall just this week.

The one thing that really stuck with me when I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad many years ago was the part that if you dont hang around with the kind of people who talk about money and how to make money, then youll never learn how or find opportunities to make more of it. In life, I have always looked for those kinds of communities, and every place Ive lived Ive found small pockets of like-minded people. But here, its like I just struck pay dirt.

Ease of Starting and Operating a Business

The same factors that make hiring in Puerto Rico easy make starting a business simple here too.

I fully intend to learn Spanishits good for me, and good for the kids too. But I cannot be expected to do so in a matter of months, and certainly not as a prerequisite to doing business. Thankfully, thats not been an issue at all.

All federal laws and forms are available in English, for one. Just about everyone you deal with in the business and government world speaks enough English to help you, and the majority, especially the younger population, speak it very well. Unlike farther-flung Spanish-speaking countries like Belize and Panama, running into someone at the local government office who cannot speak enough English to help you rarely happens here, except far outside of the cities. When it does, there are lawyers and accountants everywhere to help.

LLCs, partnerships, corporations, and all that other stuff is effectively the same here as in the US. Payroll services can be had from US companies like ADP or from local ones. Same with insurance for your business, cars, health, and more. Banks are a little slower than in the US, but offer the same services like ACH, wires, credit lines, online access, etc. Its familiar, simple, and not overly burdened with red tapeyou can even set up a corporation online in a few minutes.

Sure, there are some tough parts about starting a business here. For one, theyve yet to come to terms with virtual work, and the idea is at direct odds with one of their most stubborn bureaucracies: the town office permit folks.

On the US mainland, at least anywhere I have lived, you do not need any special permit to use your home as an office, only as a retail business. Want to found an Internet startup from your garage? No problem. Want to sell antiques from your front lawn? Problem. In Puerto Rico, the model is backwards. To set up an office, you must register it with the town. The towns inspect your office to make sure it is real. They contact your neighbors to make sure they are OK with it. And they come back regularly to do it again and again.

That struck me as odd at first. But the more I considered it, its not much different than in the States: to own a business in Vermont, I needed half a dozen forms from half a dozen offices and paid a fee for each one. I didnt have to pay a fee to get a sales and use tax permit in Puerto Rico, though. They dont want to get in the way of my ability to pay taxes, as so many US agencies seem to want to. Instead, they are focusing on a different set of problems. Ones unique to a largely urban island with high unemployment. Like trying to stop the streets from looking like a Turkish bazaar as they do elsewhere around the Caribbeansomething theyve managed very well here.

The quirks are just different from the quirks many of us grew up with, because the circumstances are different. But its the big things that matterthings like tax policy, access to smart people, services, technology, and more. And there, Puerto Rico scores very highly.

And, Yep, Lower Taxes

I work hard for my money. I work hard to find great investments that translate into profits. And I work hard to run my businesses. And the more of each I get to keep, the more I earn next year by investing it further.

Hopefully, growing up, someone taught you about the magic of compounding interest (I got it from my dad, who more than once said, Hey, read this article on mutual funds in Esquire.) Well, one of the things almost none of those lessons include is the effect of taxes. When you pay taxes on your investment income, it decreases dramatically over time. The longer you can defer taxes, the better for your pocket book. If you can reduce them or remove them entirely, the benefits are huge.

For instance, say you invest $100,000 in a 5% CD that compounds yearly. If you pay 35% tax on the interest each year, and reinvest the rest, then at the end of 20 years youve earned $89,583 in interest. Not bad for an incredibly conservative investment.

However, take those taxes on interest down to 0%, which Puerto Ricos new tax incentives provide, and you earned $165,329, or 85% more income. Thats a pretty big tax penalty the US imposes, and that many more years you have to work before you can retire.

If you live in California, where the combined tax rate for some is now in excess of 50%, the effect is even more dramatic. You would have only earned $63,861, losing out on over $100,000 in earnings. Thats enormous!

Yes, you could earn $165K inside an IRA thanks to tax deferral. But then try withdrawing it. At 39.6%, federal taxes chip it right down to $99,858. Get stung by that California 50% and youre even worse off again.

Now, heres the real kicker. In order to invest that $100K back home, you already had to pay taxes on it they dont let you put nearly that much in an IRA or 401(k) each year. Before you paid those payroll taxes, it was probably $165,000 (assuming the same 39.6% in federal taxes). If instead you earned that income in Puerto Rico at a net effective tax rate of 15%which can be easily achieved with Act 20 benefits for your business and a 4% tax on earningsthen you would have $147,283 to invest to begin with.

After 20 years at 5%, youd have saved $243,500 for your retirementthats nearly three times what you would have earned in the United States, getting taxed again and again and again. Or about 2.5x what your IRA or 401(k) would have netted you.

Its not about how much money you have to invest. Its how much you have to reinvest. And a big part of that is how much you have left over after taxes. Here in Puerto Rico, you could have much more left over, and many more opportunities to invest.

The New Land of Opportunity

To me, this is the new land of opportunity. There is a critical combination here of an underutilized but well-educated workforce, a culture that is obviously changing for the better, and a tax regime that is committed to letting entrepreneurs reinvest more of our money back into our businesses.

Add those three together, and there would be something good going on down here. But theres another factor: The Internet. With the ability to do many jobs from the convenience of anywhere, thanks to Skype, GoToMeeting, Gmail, Dropbox, and thousands of other tools that finally make the home office a reality, the opportunity is enormous. Computer programming. Asset management. Graphic design. Public relations. Marketing and advertising. Research and development. Information processing. Customer service. The number of service-based businesses that can operate from here is amazingfar more potential than the manufacturing sector ever brought.

Puerto Rico is off to a slightly slower start than its predecessors in India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and even around Latin America in recognizing the value wooing the service economy can bring to its people. However, it is on the right course now and has some tail winds to help it catch upadvantages that no other nation on earth can provide to the worlds largest market of investors and entrepreneurs, Americans.

Its hard for me to sum up all the things I like about Puerto Rico in a few pagesand theres no way the editors here will let me go longer, lest I bore you to death. But if you made it this far, then I encourage you to go one step farther. Consider joining me and your like-minded investors and entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico. Join me and the 200 or so other pioneers here in the new land of opportunity. Read my firsthand account of how, right here. And feel free to ask me any questions youd likein the comments below, or via email.

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Public sales: Diamond ring brings $3500

April 6, 2014 Posted by admin

Horst Auctioneers conducted a public sale Wednesday of antiques, collectibles, household goods, jewelry and watches at Horst Auction Center, Ephrata, for the Zelda and Emanuel Smith estate, Marie Gehman, the Dale Hevener estate and others before 467 registered bidders.

Items sold included a platinum 1.3-carat diamond ring, $3,500; a tray lot of Hot Wheels, $975; a Sensenich propeller, $310; a sterling silver bowl, $300; a set of Stauer watches, $350; a micrometer scale, $300; sterling silver plates, $450; a stoneware jug, $230; 40 sterling medals, $1,000; a pair of diamond earrings, $1,025; a 14-karat sterling bracelet, $300; an 18-karat rope bracelet; a lap desk, $220; a pair of Omega watches, $550; an iron bird tree, $350; a white-painted carousel horse, $575; a burl-veneered jewelry cabinet, $450; a Heritage library table with chair, $225; an eight-piece cherry dining room set, $275; a Dutch walnut cupboard, $625; a carved oak slant-front desk, $400; a Cub Cadet lawn wagon, $260; a tiger maple slant-front desk, $1,075; a small oak chest of drawers, $300; and a primitive sorting table, $230.

nProbst Family Auction conducted a public sale March 29 for the Anna Rentschler and June Myers estates in the Al Starr Fireman building, Willow Street, before 312 registered bidders.

Items sold included an early kerosene pump, $1,300; a Lancaster County fire alarm box (No. 317), $625; an oak gingerbread calendar clock, $725; an 18-karat/14-karat gold chain/pendant, $1,200; several gold coins $360, $330 and $310; and Hamilton watches, $370 and $240.

Guns sold included a Remington 257 Roberts Model 722, $770; a Remington 600 .308 Winchester, $525; a Winchester 20-gauge pump, $390; a Savage Model 99 .308, $335; a Winchester Model 37 .410, $340; a Remington 16-gauge Model 11-48, $310; a Savage Sporter 32-20, $310; a Marlin Model 56 .22-caliber, $290; and an Ithaca 12-gauge Featherlite Model 37, $210.

nBoltz Auctions conducted the following public sales:

lMarch 31, at Boltz Auction Center. Highlights included a Powermate generator, $460; eight tiger maple chairs $950; an oak extension table, $240; two 18-karat rings $210; an 1854 wood canteen, $220; an Elgin pocket watch in presentation case, $140; an 18-karat pig charm, $150; an 1858 amber Mason jar, $130; a Leeds plate, $130; a stereo viewer and cards, $180; an 1864 Lancaster bridge atlas, 1864 $130; and a wallpaper hat box, $210.

lMarch 22, of antiques at Boltz Auction Center. Highlights included a National Cash Register sign, $240; a two-part corner cupboard, $1,150; a child’s antique bike, $360; nine gold rings, $500; a jewelry box with gold, $650; a 14-karat stone bracelet, $300; a Budweiser neon sign, $225; a French bronze sculpture, $380; an 1893 Lancaster trolley picture, $300; a red satin “Gone With the Wind” lamp, $270; a Pennsylvania Dutch cupboard, $950; and a Chippendale-style library table, $800.

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