BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two women were arrested Friday at the Cash America Pawn on Plank Rd. after allegedly trying to pawn moissanite stones as diamonds.
Officials responded to a "panic/holdup" alarm at the store on Plank Rd. Upon arrival, the store's manager informed officers that a woman, later identified at Christine Fowler, 50, of Daytona Beach, Florida, entered the store and attempted to pawn a pair of what appeared to be diamond earrings. The manager advised that after examining the earrings, she immediately recognized them as a gem called moissanite, which she also referred to as "Ishak stones."
The manager told officers that a few years ago, a woman named Nadia Ishak, 39, of Lake Charles, began pawning jewelry at several of their locations across the Gulf South, presenting the jewelry as diamonds. The manager stated the gems were later determined to be moissanite, a less valuable stone similar to a diamond. The manager also stated she recognized Fowler and Ishak from email conversations she'd had with other Cash America Pawn managers.
The manager stated she realized Ishak had left a ring on the counter she'd removed while trying on another item for sale. The manager advised police she recognized the ring as moissanite with real diamond baguettes. She advised Ishak she would return the ring to her upon receipt of a valid ID (in order to cover herself civilly and per store policy).
Further investigation found that Ishak and Fowler were in possession of a receipt from City Pawn Shop in Baton Rouge for a diamond ring for which Fowler received $2,500 via pawn. The store manager advised officials that both women had attempted to pawn a similar ring, which was also found to be moissanite, at the store's Government St. location. After following up with the manager at City Pawn, it was found the ring the women pawned was also moissanite.
Fowler and Ishak were found to still be in possession of $2,480. Upon further questioning after being read her rights, Fowler stated she is paid 30 percent of money received from the pawn of the items as well as travel expenses from Ishak to travel to pawn shops across the south and pawn jewelry for Ishak in her own name.
Both women were arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Fowler is charged with felony theft by fraud while Ishak is charged with principle felony theft by fraud.