[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the City of Clifton 12-20-1960 by Ord. No. 3319 as Article 8 of Chapter 10 of the Revised Ordinances of the City of Clifton, New Jersey, 1960; amended in its entirety 10-18-2016 by Ord. No. 7333-16. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Advertising — See Ch. 121.
Auctions and auctioneers — See Ch. 149.
Bazaars, carnivals and circuses — See Ch. 159.
Canvassing and soliciting — See Ch. 189.
Hawking and peddling — See Ch. 265.
Junkyards and junk shops — See Ch. 289.
Licensed businesses — See Ch. 303.
Special sales — See Ch. 371.
Public solicitations — See Ch. 391.
The purpose and intent of this chapter is to assist law enforcement officials and victims of crime in recovering stolen precious metals and other secondhand goods by requiring minimum identification, reporting, maintenance and distribution criteria for licensed dealers in these goods.
No person shall use, exercise, or carry on the business, trade, or occupation of the buying, selling, or pawning of precious metals or other secondhand goods, whether at a permanent or temporary location, without complying with the requirements of this chapter in the exact manner described herein.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACCEPTABLE IDENTIFICATION
- Any verifiable United States government-issued identification, including a current valid New Jersey driver's license or identification card, a current valid photo driver's license issued by another U.S. state, a valid United States passport.
- Any person, partnership, limited-liability company, corporation, or other entity who, either wholly or in part, engages in or operates any of the following trades or businesses: the buying for purposes of resale of precious metals, jewelry, or other secondhand goods as defined herein; pawnbrokers as defined herein.
- Any person, partnership, association or corporation lending money on deposit or pledge of personal property, other than choses in action, securities, or printed evidences of indebtedness; purchasing personal property on condition of selling it back at a stipulated price; or doing business as furniture storage warehousemen and lending money on goods, wares or merchandise pledged or deposited as collateral security.
- PRECIOUS METALS
- Gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and their alloys as defined in N.J.S.A. 51:5-1 et seq. and 51:6-1 et seq.
- Individuals and retail sellers, not to include wholesale merchants, that engage in transactions with other merchants.
- REPORTABLE TRANSACTION
- Every transaction conducted between a dealer and a member of the public in which precious metals, jewelry, or any other secondhand goods as defined herein are purchased or pawned.
- SECONDHAND GOODS
- Used merchandise including, but not limited to, antiques, gold, silver, platinum, or other precious metals, jewelry, coins, gemstones, gift cards, any tools, telephones, typewriters, word processors, GPS devices, computers, computer hardware and software, television sets, radios, record or stereo sets, electronic devices, musical instruments, sporting goods, automotive equipment, collectibles, game cartridges, DVDs, CDs, and other electronically recorded material, firearms, cameras and camera equipment, video equipment, furniture, clothing, and other valuable articles. For the purposes of this chapter, secondhand goods shall not include goods transacted in the following manner:
- A. Indicial sales or sales by executors or administrators;
- B. Occasional or auction sales of household goods sold from private homes;
- C. Auctions of real estate; and
- D. The occasional sale, purchase, or exchange of coins or stamps by a person at his permanent residence or in any municipally owned building who is engaged in the hobby of collecting coins or stamps and who does not solicit the sale, purchase, or exchange of such coins or stamps to or from the general public by billboard, sign, handbill, newspaper, magazine, radio, television, or other form of printed or electronic advertising.
- A member of the public who sells or pawns used goods such as precious metal, jewelry, or other secondhand goods to a dealer.
No person, partnership, limited-liability company, corporation, or other entity shall engage in the business of buying, selling, or pawning of precious metals or other secondhand goods, as defined above, whether from a permanent or temporary location, within the jurisdiction of the municipality, without having first obtained a numbered license from the Municipal Clerk.
The application for a license shall set forth the following information:
The applicant's name, business name and business address.
Whether the applicant is an individual, partnership, corporation, limited-liability company or another type of entity, containing a full explanation and description thereof.
If the applicant is an individual, the applicant's residence address and date and place of birth.
If the applicant is a partnership or limited liability company, the full names, residence addresses, dates and places of birth of each partner or member.
If the applicant is a corporation or other entity, the full names, residence addresses, dates and places of birth of each major officer and each stockholder, the name and address of the registered agent and the address of the principal office. The term "stockholder," as used herein, means and includes any person owning or having an interest, either legal or equitable, in 10% or more of the stock issued and outstanding of the applicant corporation. In the case of another entity, the full names, residence addresses, dates and places of birth of each person owning or having any interest, either legal or equitable, aggregating in value 10% or more of the total capital of said entity, the name and address of the registered agent, if any, and the address of the principal office.
Whether the applicant or any partners, members officers or stockholders thereof have ever been arrested and/or convicted of a crime and, if so, the name of the person arrested or convicted, the date of the arrest, the crime or charge involved and the disposition thereof. The term "officers," as used herein, means and includes the president vice president, secretary and treasurer of a corporate applicant.
The average quantity and kind, as nearly as can be determined, and the value of the goods intended to be sold or exposed for sale in the City.
The names and addresses of the persons from whom goods making up the stock were or are to be purchased.
Three photographs of the applicant taken within 60 days immediately prior to the date of the filing of the application, which pictures shall be two inches by two inches, showing the head and shoulders of the applicant in a clear and distinguishing manner.
The location where the business of the licensee shall be conducted within the City of Clifton.
Licensees may not operate at any location other than the site specified in the license. Licensees operating at multiple locations must have each location separately licensed.
Upon receipt of an application completed pursuant to this chapter, the Municipal Clerk shall refer such application to the Chief of Police, who shall make an investigation of the prospective licensee, pursuant to this chapter for the purpose of determining the suitability of the applicant for licensing. The investigation shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
The experience of the applicant in the business of purchase and sale of those articles or goods referred to in § 429-2 above, although nothing in this section shall be construed to warrant denial of a license solely on the basis of lack of experience.
The reputation of the applicant for fair dealing in the community, which shall be made among credible sources, which sources shall be disclosed to the applicant in the event of a denial of any license.
Any criminal record of the applicant including any past convictions for any crime(s), disorderly persons offense(s), or municipal ordinance violation(s) within this or any other jurisdiction. The Chief of Police shall, as part of the initial application process and annual renewals, require fingerprint criminal background checks through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Justice Information Services Division, for the applicant and all owners and employees, which may require payment of additional fees by the applicant.
The type of operation contemplated to be conducted by the applicant, particularly whether the business is to be operated from a fixed location, whether it is to be conducted from a location primarily devoted to the purchase and sale of precious metal or other secondhand goods, and other factors bearing on whether the licensed business will be of a fixed and permanent nature.
The Chief of Police shall complete any investigation pursuant to this chapter within 30 days of the submission of the application to the Municipal Clerk, fully completed by the applicant. If a criminal record check has been requested within the thirty-day period and has not been received by the Chief of Police within that period, the Chief of Police may, if all other factors are satisfactory, recommend a conditional issuance of the license subject to the finding regarding criminal record. A conditional license may only be issued if all the following are met:
Payment of a nonrefundable fee for a conditional license of $1,000. Should the City Council grant a license, this conditional license fee will be applied to the license fee.
That all forms, reports and investigations from all municipal departments required under this chapter be forwarded to the City Clerk before the issuance of a conditional license.
That the applicant has complied with all other provisions of the chapter.
The conditional license shall not be transferable.
The Chief of Police shall, upon completion of the investigation, recommend grant or denial of the license to the Municipal Council, who shall, in its discretion, grant or deny the license. Any recommendation of the Chief of Police shall be in writing and, in the case of a recommendation of denial, shall state fully and specifically the reasons for said recommendation. If the Municipal Council accepts the recommendation of the Chief of Police to deny any license, the applicant shall be notified in writing within 10 days of such denial and the Clerk shall forward to the applicant a statement of the reason or reasons for such denial.
Grounds for recommending denial of license include, but are not limited to:
Reliable information indicating that the applicant has in the past engaged in fraudulent or deceptive business practices in a business identical to or similar to a dealer in secondhand goods.
Conviction of the applicant or any of its principal officers or employees of any crime(s), disorderly persons offense(s) in which deceit or misrepresentation is an element; or any conviction of any crime(s), disorderly persons offense involving theft or the receiving of stolen goods, regardless of whether the applicant was a principal, accessory before the fact, after the fact, or a co-conspirator; or any prior municipal ordinance violation(s) by the applicant or any of its principal officers or employees in this or any other jurisdiction.
Upon receipt of the recommendation of the Chief of Police, the Municipal Council shall, in its discretion, issue or deny the license accordingly, contingent upon the receipt of a bond as required by § 429-9 of this chapter.
Whenever any application for a permit is denied, the applicant shall be entitled to a hearing before the Municipal Council at which time the applicant shall be permitted to introduce such evidence as may be deemed relevant to such denial. Any applicant exercising the right to appeal must file a written notice of appeal within 10 days of receiving written notice of denial of a license to act as a pawnbroker, dealer of secondhand goods and serve same on the Municipal Clerk, Police Chief and Municipal Attorney.
No license shall be assignable by the dealer.
For every reportable transaction between a dealer and the public, the dealer shall:
Require of each person selling or pawning precious metals or other secondhand goods acceptable identification as defined above in § 429-2, which will be recorded on the receipt retained by the dealer and subsequently forwarded to the local police department or request.
Require each seller to execute a declaration of ownership, which shall contain the following certification: "My signature confirms that I am the sole legal owner of and am legally authorized to sell the goods being sold. By signing below I certify that I did not obtain and do not possess the identified goods through unlawful means. I am the full age of eighteen years and the identification presented is valid and correct."
Record and issue to each person selling or pawning such goods on a sequentially numbered receipt:
The name, address, and telephone number of the purchaser, including the clerk or employee of the licensee making the purchase;
The name, address, date of birth, and telephone number of the seller or sellers;
A photographed recording of the seller in a format acceptable to the Chief of Police, along with a physical description of the seller, including height and weight (approximate), hair color, eye color, facial hair, if any, etc.;
A photographed recording of the seller's presented acceptable identification, as set forth in § 429-2, in a format acceptable by the Chief of Police;
A photographed recording of all items sold in a format acceptable by the Chief of Police. When photographing, all items must be positioned in a manner that makes them readily and easily identifiable. Items should not be grouped together when photographing or imaging. Each item should have its own photograph;
The receipt number;
A detailed, legible description of the item(s) and the manufacturer and model of the item(s) if known; in the case of jewelry, the descriptions must include style, length, color, design, and stones, if any; any identifying marks, including numbers, dates, sizes, shapes, initials, names, monograms, social security numbers engraved thereon, serial numbers, series numbers, or any other information, which sets apart the particular object from others of like kind;
The price paid for the purchase or pawn of the item(s);
If precious metals, the net weight in terms of pounds Troy, pennyweight (Troy) or kilograms/grams; fineness in terms of karats for gold, and sterling or coin for silver, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 51:5-1 and 51:6-1 et seq.;
The time and date of the transaction.
The information outlined in Subsection C above must additionally be electronically documented through the use of an electronic database system authorized by the Chief of Police. Installation and training in this software will be made mandatory as of the effective date of this chapter and licensing will be conditional upon compliance with proper use of the system as described herein. These records shall be subject to the inspection of any authorized police officer or any sworn law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his or her duty as set forth in Subsection F below. Through the use of applicably required computer equipment, and using the electronic format approved by the Chief of Police, every dealer shall enter all reportable transactions into the electronic database by the end of the close of business on the same date as the purchase or receipt of property for pawn or consignment. The information entered must contain all pertinent information outlined in Subsection C above.
In the event of a database failure, or dealer's computer equipment malfunction, all transaction information is required to be submitted on paper forms approved by the Chief of Police within 24 hours from the date of purchase. In the event that paper forms are used, the dealer is responsible to enter all transaction information set forth in Subsection C above into the database as soon as possible upon the dealer's equipment being repaired or replaced, or the database coming back into service. Failure by the dealer to properly maintain computer equipment in a reasonable fashion, or failure by the dealer to replace faulty computer equipment, may result in the dealer being cited for a violation of this chapter and subsequently being subject to the penalties for failing to doing so including revocation of the dealer's license as described in § 429-8.
It shall be the requisite duty of every dealer, and of every person in the dealer's employ, to admit to the premises during business hours any member of the Police Department to examine any database, book, ledger, or any other record on the premises relating to the reportable transactions of precious metals or other secondhand goods, as well as the articles purchased or received and, where necessary, relinquish custody of those articles.
All precious metals, jewelry, and other secondhand goods purchased, received for pawn, or received for consignment as described above, are to be made available for inspection by the Chief of Police or designee thereof at the designated business address for a period of at least 10 calendar days from the date the transaction information is actually reported to the Chief of Police in the approved manner described above in § 429-5. All precious metal or other secondhand goods subject to inspection must remain in the same condition as when purchased or received for pawn and shall not be sold, disposed of, changed, modified, or melted by the dealer until the ten-day retention period has expired.
No dealer shall purchase any item covered by this chapter from any person under the age of 18 or in the absence of providing prior notification of such purchase to the Chief of Police or business designee identifying the individual from whom such purchase is to be made and the item to be purchased.
No person, partnership, limited-liability company, corporation or other entity shall place or cause to be placed any advertisement or sign for purchase of such articles or secondhand goods referenced in § 429-2 without stating in the advertisement or sign the license number issued to a person or entity by the municipality. In any print advertisement, the license number shall appear in type no smaller than eight-point in the lower-right-hand corner of the advertisement. In any advertisement in electronic media, the license number shall be visually or audibly stated. Failure to state or indicate the license number shall be a violation of this chapter and shall be subject to the penalties established in § 429-12.
The Chief of Police or a designee thereof is hereby empowered to temporarily suspend for cause any dealer's license and rights to operate hereunder. This penalty shall be in addition to any fines and penalties the dealer may incur pursuant to § 429-12 of this chapter.
Grounds for suspension. The following shall constitute grounds for suspension: violation of any provisions of this chapter, including failure to comply with any training or fees associated with the electronic database software system in use by the municipality; violation of any other statute, regulation, or local ordinance; or any other illegal, improper, or fraudulent activity.
Procedure for suspension. Upon determination that appropriate grounds exist and that a suspension is warranted, the Chief of Police or a designee thereof shall issue a written notice of suspension of license to the offending dealer and to the Municipal Clerk, which shall set forth the grounds for the suspension and notify the dealer of his or her right to appeal pursuant to this subsection. A temporary suspension shall issue immediately, pending the outcome of any appeal taken. Suspended dealers must immediately cease engaging in the business of purchasing for resale, receiving for pawn, and/or selling of precious metals and/or other secondhand goods in the municipality until reinstatement. The dealer may appeal the suspension to the Municipal Council upon serving written notice on the Municipal Clerk within 10 days of receiving the written notice of suspension of its desire to appeal the determination of the Chief of Police. Thereafter, the dealer will be scheduled to appear before the Municipal Council at a date, time and place to be designated in a notice served on the dealer by the Municipal Clerk to show cause why such license should not be suspended or revoked. Such notice shall be served upon the dealer by personal service or by registered or certified mail addressed to the dealer's address on record with the Municipal Clerk. In addition to either reinstating the license, upholding the suspension or revoking the license, the Municipal Council may impose such conditions and safeguards for the continuation of the license as it may deem necessary to provide for the public health, safety and welfare.
Reinstatement. Suspended dealers may be reinstated only when the grounds leading to the suspension have, in the determination of the Municipal Council, been cured, corrected, or appropriately rectified.
Revocation. A license issued under this chapter may be revoked by the Municipal Council upon written recommendation from the Chief of Police or the Chief's designee that the dealer is no longer qualified, capable or competent to comply with the requirements of this chapter. This penalty shall be in addition to any fines and penalties the dealer may incur under § 429-12.
Grounds for revocation. The following shall constitute grounds for revocation: a third violation under this chapter; a second violation under this chapter less than one year after an earlier violation under this chapter; conviction for a criminal offense within this or any jurisdiction; or multiple violations of any other regulations or local ordinances within this or any jurisdiction.
Procedure for revocation. Upon a determination that appropriate grounds exist and that a revocation is warranted, the Chief of Police or the Chief's designee shall so report to the Municipal Clerk in writing. A temporary suspension will immediately and automatically issue, if one is not already in effect, pending the outcome of the charge. The Municipal Council shall review the stated grounds for revocation and shall issue an appropriate disposition of either suspension, revocation, or reinstatement. If it is determined that revocation is the appropriate disposition, the grounds therefor shall be set forth in writing in the form of a notice of revocation, which shall be provided to the dealer. The notice shall advise the dealer of the right to appeal. The dealer may appeal the revocation to the Municipal Council upon serving written notice on the Municipal Clerk within 10 days of receiving the written notice of revocation of its desire to appeal the revocation. Thereafter, the dealer will be scheduled to appear before the Municipal Council at a date, time and place to be designated in a notice served on the dealer by the Municipal Clerk to show cause why such license should not be revoked. Such notice shall be served upon the dealer by personal service or by registered or certified mail addressed to the dealer's address on record with the Municipal Clerk. In addition to either reinstating the license, upholding the suspension or revoking the license, the Municipal Council may impose such conditions and safeguards for the continuation of the license as it may deem necessary to provide for the public health, safety and welfare. If determined that suspension is the appropriate disposition, the dealer shall be so notified in writing and shall be advised of the right to appeal. Following revocation, the dealer must relinquish his or her license and must immediately and indefinitely cease operating as a dealer of precious metals or other secondhand goods within the municipality.
Appeal. Any applicant wishing to appeal a suspension or revocation shall be entitled to a hearing as set forth above. Any applicant exercising the right to appeal must file a written notice of appeal within 10 days of receiving written notice of revocation or suspension of license.
A dealer shall have the right to change the location of the licensed business, provided that he or she notifies the Municipal Clerk and Police Chief, in writing, of the street address of said new location.
Each dealer covered under this chapter shall deliver a bond to the Municipal Clerk executed by the applicant as principal and executed by a surety company authorized to do business under the laws of the State of New Jersey as surety. The bond shall be subject to review and approval by the Municipal Attorney, as defined in N.J.S.A. 40A:9-139, and shall be in the penal sum of $10,000, conditioned for the due and proper observance of and compliance with the provisions and requirements of all ordinances of the municipality in force or which may be adopted respecting the conduct of this business and conditioned also that the bond shall be and remain for the benefit of any person or persons who shall have received judgment against the dealer licensed under this chapter, which damage shall be established by a judgment of a court of proper jurisdiction. Said bond shall contain the following language: "The obligation of this bond shall, in addition to the City of Clifton, be and remain for the benefit of any person who shall obtain a judgment against obligor as a result of damage sustained in operation pursuant to any license granted under this chapter." Said bond shall be kept for a minimum of one year from the date of issuance of license and must be renewed annually along with the license.
A nonrefundable fee for initial application and license for a pawnbroker, dealer in precious metals or other secondhand goods as covered under this chapter is $1,000. The annual renewal fee for a license is $1,000. These fees are separate from and in addition to any fees the dealer must pay in relation to the mandatory electronic database system designated by the Chief of Police, as provided by § 429-5D. Payments are to be made in the manner directed by the Municipal Clerk.
Licenses issued pursuant to this chapter are valid for one year, from January 1 through December 31. Initial applications and applications for renewal must be submitted no later than October 1.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require the obtaining of a license by any charitable or religious society that shall conduct sales of personal property or Christmas trees when the proceeds thereof shall be applied to the payment of the expenses thereof and to the charitable or religious object for which the society exists.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require the obtaining of a license by any art, antique or historical society that conducts an exhibition and sale of art objects, pictures, paintings, prints, historical articles and furniture generally known and designated as antiques and kindred objects.
Violation of any provision of this chapter by any dealer shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not more than $2,000, or by a term of imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days in addition to a suspension or revocation of operating license as provided in § 429-8 above. Each and every violation shall be considered a separate violation. Each violation may result in an additional suspension period. Any person who is found guilty of violating the provisions of this chapter within one year of the date of a previous violation and who was fined for the previous violation may be sentenced by the court to an additional fine as a repeat offender and, in addition, may be subject to revocation proceedings as provided in § 429-8. The additional fine imposed as a repeat offender shall not be less than the minimum or exceed the maximum fine provided herein, and same shall be calculated separately from the fine imposed for the violation of this chapter.
Effective January 1, 2017, no existing licensee may continue to operate without having been re-licensed pursuant to this chapter. No new business requiring a license shall operate without having first obtained a valid license pursuant to the terms and conditions set forth herein.
Nothing contained in this chapter is intended to replace any preexisting statutory requirements governing pawnbrokers, as in N.J.S.A. 45:22-1 et seq., the sale of precious metals as in N.J.S.A. 51:6A-1 et seq., the sale of secondhand jewelry as in N.J.S.A. 2C:21-36 et seq., or any other statutory provision regarding any subject matter addressed herein.