Breathe, sweetie. We are all here for you.
I can’t give you formal legal advice, all I can give is knowledge I
have gathered through life experiences and through education I have
Where are you located? If you can tell me your location, I can look
up the laws for you.
Your log book is your best defense. Also, line up character
witnesses, and ask them to write letters of support for you.
The police also have your side of the story, including the fact that
you gave her the jewelry you did make. The fact that they didn’t
detain you or take you in for questioning speaks volumes. Keep in
contact with the department, and find out who in the DA’s office is
handling the case. Sometimes the DA’s office will drop a case if they
feel there is nothing to go on. If you do contact the DA, take
counsel with you.
If you go to court, take the bill she did not pay with you in
addition to character witness letters and the logbook.
Is there a record of this woman having “accidental falls?” These
should be public - listed as cases in the court docket. If you can
establish a pattern of false charges, that can help you. Get
together any documentation you can. I was sued years ago by a former
employer, and the documentation I had saved me, and nearly got them
prosecuted for criminal harassment.
I also recommend filing counter charges, for defamation of
character/slander. You have a right to file charges against her, as
well-especially since she can damage your business. You also have a
right to gather meaning you can require that she have
the piece you made appraised by another jeweler, and then that
appraisal can be sent to you. You also have a right to see the
charges, a copy of the police report that she filed, and all
evidence against you. If she is claiming that you switched/stole
stones, then she must provide an appraisal dating from before the
logbook date for the stones she is claiming were pilfered.
Law schools often have clinics people can go to to get free legal
help. Also, contact the Salvation Army or the United Way to see if
they can point you toward any free or fee-reduced legal advice. I
strongly recommend you get counsel somehow - this woman could
potentially wipe you out, especially if she gets a loopy judge and a
jury that thinks all jewelers are independently wealthy. She hasn’t
opted to file in civil court, which is interesting.
Also, contact CERF - they may have resources especially for artists
for times like these. There is also the National Association for
In the future, you should set yourself up as an LLC. This protects
you personally from situations like this. All you have to do is file
some paperwork with the secretary of state. Let me know where you
are and I can look up for you.
Sweetie, breathe. In, out, in, out. You’re going to be okay. There
are just some very basic steps you must take to protect yourself;
get your documentation in order, and see what counsel you can find.
We are all here for you.
If you like, feel free to contact me off list.