[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Legislature of the County of Sullivan as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 3-15-2012 by L.L. No. 1-2012]
It is hereby declared and found that because of the increase of incidents of burglary, property theft, and theft of precious metal, the increase of the price of precious metals and gems, the ease with which some secondhand dealers buy and sell precious metals or gems without requiring identification or proof of ownership, these secondhand precious metal or gem dealers represent to persons involved in crime an opportunity to quickly dispose of stolen property. For business enterprises to be allowed to continue to operate without laws to control and regulate the purchase of such articles not only jeopardizes the property rights of many people but also extremely hampers law enforcement in its efforts to recover stolen property and identify suspects. If the law enforcement agencies are to efficiently and productively function in this area, a local law regulating secondhand precious metal or gem dealers is necessary. Thereby, the public health, morals and general welfare of the County of Sullivan will be protected and promoted and the best interest of the people would be served by the control and regulation of secondhand precious metal or gem dealers. It is the intention of the Legislature of Sullivan County that this chapter be established and shall constitute the complete law in relation to the control and regulation of secondhand precious metal or gem dealers for the County of Sullivan.
Unless the context specifically indicates otherwise, the meanings of terms used in this chapter shall be as follows:
- A. Whenever used in this chapter, any person, corporation, partnership, association, joint-stock company, or other business entity, who, in any way or as a principal broker or agent:
- (1) Deals in the purchase or sale of secondhand metals or gems as defined herein; or
- (2) Accepts or receives secondhand precious metals or gems in exchange for credits on any other articles or merchandise; or
- (3) Deals in the purchase of secondhand precious metals or gems for the purpose of melting or refining; or
- (4) Engages in melting secondhand metal items for the purpose of selling; or
- (5) Engages in resetting secondhand precious gems for the purpose of selling; or
- (6) Deals in the purchase or sale of pawnbroker tickets or other evidence of pledged articles containing precious metals or gems; or
- (7) Not being a pawnbroker, deals in the redemption of sale of pledged articles made from precious metals or gems.
- B. This chapter shall not apply to the acceptance of merchandise which is not secondhand as a return, exchange, or for credit or refund if such merchandise was originally purchased as new merchandise from the person accepting or receiving same, nor to the resale of such merchandise.
- C. The burden of proof that an article was originally purchased from the person accepting it or receiving it, that it was the first subsequent sale or exchange thereof to a person other than an ultimate consumer or that it was a first sale at retail of such factory rebuilt merchandise shall be upon the person asserting the same.
- GEMS or PRECIOUS STONES
- As referred to herein, shall include but is not limited to mean diamonds, alexandrite, cymophane, ruby, sapphire, opal, amethyst, smoky quartz, citrine, rose quartz, spinel, malachite, turquoise, emerald, aquamarine, morganite, garnet, lapis lazuli, jadeite, kunzite, topaz, tourmaline, zircon, amber, jet, pearl, coral, tanzanite.
- PRECIOUS METALS
- As referred to herein, gold, silver, platinum, iridium, ruthenium, osmium or any alloys of any one or more of said metals.
No person shall, within the County of Sullivan, establish, engage in or carry on, directly or indirectly, the business of dealing in secondhand precious metals or gems, either separately or in conjunction with some other business, without first having obtained and having in full force and effect a license as provided herein.
Such license shall be displayed in a conspicuous place at the designated place of business of the licensee.
Such license shall not in any way supplant the licensing and display requirements of any applicable state or federal laws.
Applications for secondhand precious metal and gem dealer licenses shall be made to the County Clerk. The application shall contain the following information:
Name and description of the applicant's business enterprise. Individuals operating under a trade name shall present a certified copy of the trade name certificate filed in the Sullivan County Clerk's office. A partnership conducting business, whether or not under a trade name, shall submit a certified copy of the partnership certificate which was filed in the Sullivan County Clerk's office when the partnership was formed. A corporation shall furnish a copy of its certificate of incorporation, as well as its certificate of good standing and, if a foreign corporation, its application for authority to do business in New York State.
The applicant's legal address and address of all places of business within Sullivan County and the address of a designated agent for service of process.
A description of the nature of the business to be conducted and/or being conducted by the applicant in Sullivan County.
The name and address of the owner or owners of the business premises and the nature of the right of occupancy of the applicant to the use of said premises.
A statement that the applicant is at least 18 years of age.
A statement as to whether or not the applicant has, within the past 10 years, been convicted of a crime or violation of any municipal ordinance, the nature of the offense and the punishment or penalty assessed therefor and such other facts or evidence as is deemed necessary to establish that the applicant is a person fit and capable of properly conducting the activity or business for which the license is sought.
Two photographs of the applicant, taken not more than 60 days prior to the date of application, which clearly depict the head and shoulders of the applicant and which shall be two inches wide by two inches tall.
All applicants must submit fingerprints of the individual owner, if the applicant is a sole proprietorship; the general partners if the applicant is a partnership; and the officers, principals, directors, and stockholders holding more than 5% of the outstanding stock if the applicant is a corporation. Fingerprints will be submitted in electronic form to the Division of Criminal Justice Services for a criminal background check. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to obtain electronic fingerprints at an authorized civil fingerprint submission agency, at its own expense, for use by the County Clerk.
Such application for a secondhand precious metal or gem dealer's license shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee of $200.
Every applicant shall submit a bond or other surety to the County of Sullivan in the sum of $2,000 or, for a renewal license, evidence of bond issued in favor of the licensee. The bond shall be for the purpose of guaranteeing payments up to the face amount of the bond for bank drafts or other negotiable instruments issued by the licensee in exchange for all purchase of precious metals. All bonds must be conditioned so that the licensee will observe all laws thereto. Such bond shall remain in force during the entire period for which the license is valid. The County Clerk may establish rules and regulations concerning the amount of a bond to be posted, upon proper notice to the licensee.
Upon receipt of the license application, criminal history record information received from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), fees and bonds required of the applicant, the County Clerk shall review the application and, if appropriate, issue a license to the applicant.
The County Clerk shall keep a record of all licenses issued, as well as any other matters herein described.
Every license shall expire one year after its issuance. Every license may be renewed upon payment of the required renewal fee in the amount of $100 and filing a renewal application with the County Clerk no earlier than 30 days and no later than 15 days before the license is due to expire, certifying that no changes have occurred with respect to any of the facts or information required or supplied on the original application, or if there have been any changes, the applicant shall furnish the facts and information relating to such changes and shall comply with the requirements of this chapter.
A license may be denied, suspended, or revoked when the applicant or licensee, or any of its principals, officers or directors, or any of its stockholders owning more than 5% of its outstanding stock of the corporation has been convicted of a crime which, in the judgment of the County Clerk, has a direct relationship to such person's fitness or ability to perform any of the activities for which a license is required under this chapter, or has been convicted of any other crime which, in accordance with Article 23a of the Correction Law, would provide a justification for the County Clerk to refuse to issue or renew, or to suspend or revoke, such license.
A license may be denied, suspended, or revoked when the applicant or licensee, or any of its principals, officers or directors, or any of its stockholders owning more than 5% of its outstanding corporate stock has omitted or misrepresented the facts or circumstances underlying any information contained in the license application.
A license may be denied or revoked when a person has been found by a court of any state to have practiced civil fraud, deceit, misrepresentation in conjunction with a secondhand dealer business or other business.
The initial determination to deny, suspend, or revoke a license under this subsection shall be made in writing by the County Clerk.
Within 60 days of the initial determination to deny or revoke a license under Subsections A through D above, an aggrieved applicant or licensee may request a formal hearing. Such request shall be addressed via certified mail to the County Clerk. Within a reasonable time thereafter, the County Clerk shall appoint an independent hearing officer with the authority to compel the attendance of witnesses, administer oaths, take the testimony of any person under oath and in connection therewith require the production of any evidence relating to any matters affecting the determination. The hearing officer shall render his/her decision and recommendation to the County Clerk within 30 days of the date of hearing. The County Clerk will notify the applicant/licensee within a reasonable time thereafter of his/her final determination with respect to the disposition of his license/application for license.
Any further appeal shall be to the court of this state with appropriate jurisdiction.
No license under the provisions of this chapter shall be transferred or assigned to any person or used by any person other than the licensee to whom it was issued, his agents, employees or duly authorized representatives, said agents, employees or duly authorized representatives having been approved by the County Clerk.
It shall be unlawful for any dealer of secondhand precious metals or gems to engage in buying activities in any place within Sullivan County other than the place of business designated in such license, except to meet with a customer at his home, bank or suitable place of business. A dealer in secondhand precious metals or gems may, upon application to the County Clerk and receiving approval of the County Clerk, temporarily extend his license to cover other locations, such as flea markets, fairs, bazaars or religious or charitable organization functions.
It shall be unlawful for any dealer of secondhand precious metals or gems to purchase any secondhand precious metals or gems from any person whom he knows to be, or has reason to believe to be, under the age of 18 years.
It shall be unlawful for a secondhand precious metal or gem dealer to purchase secondhand precious metals or gems from any person between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
It shall be unlawful for any dealer in secondhand precious metals or gems to sell or dispose of any secondhand precious metals or gems until the expiration of 15 days after the acquisition by such dealer of said precious metals or gems.
It shall be unlawful for a secondhand precious metal or gem dealer to continue to carry on business after his license is suspended, revoked or has expired and has not been renewed.
It shall be unlawful to cause, allow or approve of the blockage, obstruction or concealment from the view of the consumer any scale, machine, weighing device or part thereof used to weigh or calculate the value of precious metals or gems.
It shall be unlawful for any dealer of secondhand precious metals or gems to damage, destroy, alter or in any way change or direct or request anyone else to alter or change the structure or makeup of a precious metal or gem so as to make it unidentifiable within 15 days after the acquisition by said dealers of such precious metal or gem.
The price upon which the dealer bases his quotation for gold and silver shall be clearly and conspicuously displayed in Arabic numbers in such a manner that the public will be informed.
If any articles composed wholly or in part of precious metals or gems shall be advertised in any newspaper printed in the County of Sullivan or reported by any law enforcement agency as having been lost or stolen, and if any articles answering such description or any part thereof shall be or come into the possession of any licensed dealer, such dealer, upon receiving actual written or oral notice of the similarity of description of such articles, shall immediately give information relating thereto to the appropriate law enforcement agency. No disposition of such articles shall be effected until authorization to do so shall be given to such dealer by said law enforcement agency. The failure of the law enforcement agency within 30 days to give the dealer further written notice that the articles are actually lost or are believed to be stolen and are needed in connection with a pending investigation or prosecution shall constitute authorization to dispose of said articles.
Every dealer in secondhand precious metals or gems by the close of the business day shall keep a record on a form prescribed by the Sullivan County District Attorney of consecutively numbered transactions, legibly written in English, which shall contain a complete, thorough description of every secondhand precious metal or gem article so purchased, utilizing accepted trade words and phrases such as, but not limited to, serpentine, herringbone, braided herringbone, rope, crosscut, woven link, cobra, basket weave, tricolor, Florentine, twist, beveled, gem names as listed, quantities of gems, number or numbers of said articles. The record shall also include the name, residence address and description of the person from whom such purchase was made, including the day and hour of the purchase and a copy of the form of identification provided and required to be obtained from the seller as set forth in § 167-13, below. The record shall also include a digital picture of the every secondhand precious metal or gem article so purchased, along with a description of any identifying marks or engravings. The dealer shall be required to inquire into the seller of how the seller obtained the item(s) sold and record that information. Within 48 hours of the close of business on the day of the purchase, the dealer in precious metals or gems shall forward by e-mail to the Sullivan County District Attorney's office and municipal police department within whose jurisdiction the dealer's business is located a copy of the record of purchase, as provided above, of each transaction that took place on that day. The Sullivan County District Attorney's Office shall act as the central repository for such records.
Such record shall be kept on the business premises of the secondhand precious metal or gem dealership or at the place designated on the fully approved license, at all times during normal business hours. Such record shall be open to the inspection of any police officer or the Sullivan County District Attorney or any person duly authorized for such purposes by the County Clerk.
The dealer is mandated to use the forms prescribed by the County Clerk and shall reimburse the County Clerk for the cost of said forms.
It shall be the duty of every secondhand precious metal or gem dealer to verify the identify of every person from whom he makes a purchase and to make and keep a written record of the nature of the evidence submitted by such person to prove his identity and attach a copy of the identification taken to the reporting form.
Only the following shall be deemed acceptable evidence of identity:
Any official document, except a Social Security Account number card, issued by the United States Government, any state, County, municipality or subdivision thereof, any public agency or department thereof or any public or private employer, which requires and bears a photograph and signature of the person to whom issued.
It shall be the duty of every dealer in secondhand precious metal or gem articles to require that every person from whom an article is purchased sign his or her name in the presence of the secondhand precious metal or gem dealer and to compare the signature on the identifying document, if any, and retain on said premises the person's signature, together with the number and description of the identifying document, if any.
Every secondhand precious metal or gem dealer shall furnish to the County Clerk or his agent or the appropriate law enforcement agency all information requested relative to all records required to be kept under this chapter.
It shall be the duty of the Sullivan County District Attorney or any police officer having jurisdiction at the site where a person is seen dealing in secondhand precious metals or gems to require such person seen so dealing and who is not known to the Sullivan County District Attorney or such police officer to be duly licensed to produce or display his secondhand precious metal dealer's license and to enforce the provisions of this chapter against any person found to be in violation of the same. It shall be the duty of the Sullivan County District Attorney or any police officer as described herein to require the immediate closure of any business dealing in the purchase of secondhand metals or gems as defined herein who is operating said business without a license as required by this chapter.
This chapter shall not create any liability on the part of the County of Sullivan, its officers, agents or employees or any police officer for any act or damage caused as a result of reliance on this chapter or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.
Failure to comply with any provision of this chapter shall constitute a Class A misdemeanor and exclusively prosecuted by the Sullivan County District Attorney's office and shall be subject to any sentence permitted for a Class A misdemeanor under the Penal Law, including up to one year in the Sullivan County Jail as provided in §§ 60.01 and 70.15 and Article 65 of the Penal Law of the State of New York.
In addition to the penalties provided in Subsection A above, any such offense against the provisions of this chapter shall subject the person or business entity committing the offense to civil penalties, not to exceed $500 for each offense and each day that the offense shall continue. Any such penalty shall be collectible by and in the name of the County of Sullivan.