A Los Angeles watch dealer, known as ‘The Timepiece Gentleman,’ has been arrested for defrauding customers out of $3 million after he admitted to owing millions of dollars in debts.
Anthony Farrer, 35, who operated a luxury watch consignment business in Beverly Hills, was arrested by FBI agents on Tuesday on charges of wire fraud—a felony that could result in a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Several clients sued the 35-year-old earlier, claiming they gave him watches worth up to $100,000 each which were sold without them seeing a penny.
Farrer, who once leased an $100,000 penthouse in LA, founded his business Gentleman Timepieces, in Texas in 2017, and opened his Beverly Hills stores in 2022.
Anthony Farrer, 35, was arrested by FBI agents Tuesday at a storage facility in Venice on charges of wire fraud
Several clients sued the 35-year-old earlier, claiming they gave him watches worth up to $100,000 each which were sold without them seeing a penny
The arrest came after he admitted he has been ‘spending people’s money, living above [his] means’. He was known to drive a Lamborghini and Ducati motorcycles
The watch dealer built his business by selling luxury timepieces such as diamond encrusted Rolexes and Patek Philippes on consignment and scooping a commission, typically 5 percent, according to the complaint unsealed Wednesday.
The complaint alleges that ‘Farrer defrauded victims beginning in late 2022 until the summer of 2023’.
‘He promised customers he would sell their luxury watches on consignment,’ the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Rather than giving customers their money after the sale, he allegedly kept the proceeds for himself.
The complaint also alleges Farrer of inducing victims into wiring funds for the purchase of specific luxury watches and sending them a different one.
Farrer is also accused of running a scheme like a Ponzi scheme, when he made small successful deals first to make people feel safe, and then he asked for or did much bigger deals.
Several victims reached out to law enforcement, stating that they sent money to Farrer to buy a watch or sent him a watch to sell on consignment, according to the complaint.
But the customers either didn’t get paid for the watch or never received it back. Authorities estimate the total losses for victims to be around $3 million.
Farrer abandoned the Beverly Hills store in August 2023 and began posting about his various travel throughout the U.S. on social media.
The complaint said Farrer continued to advertise watches for sale on his social media platforms until last month.
The complaint alleges that ‘Farrer defrauded victims beginning in late 2022 until the summer of 2023’
Farrer documented his fast-pace lifestyle which featured expensive steak dinners and flashy cars in a series on YouTube called South Hill which appears to have been deleted
At the peak of his success the Beverly Hills watch dealer rented this $100,000 a month penthouse on South Hill in Los Angeles
Farrer made his initial appearance Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court. A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday and an arraignment was scheduled for December 14.
In a video he posted last week, Farer admitted to operating a scheme which has left him in a ‘$5 million hole’.
He said: ‘I’ve been digging myself this hole and it’s a five-million dollar hole. About three million of that debt is to two big clients of mine. One who acted as an investor and I used his money to fund my lifestyle.’
The watch dealer built up a loyal customer base and social media following in a few years, largely thanks to his online videos which showed a behind the scenes look at the horology world, as well as his lavish lifestyle.
One video posted online shows Farrer enjoying dinner at an upmarket Dallas steakhouse. Another shows his flexing a Rolex on his watch in front of a row of supercars.
At one point, Farrer leased one of the most expensive penthouses in Los Angeles, 825 South Hill Street, a $100,000 a month, 11-bedroom apartment.
He was known to drive a Lamborghini and Ducati motorcycles. He also traveled frequently to, and engaged in gambling in, Las Vegas, according to the complaint
His Facebook page indicates that he has dealt with watches worn by the likes of Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg.
Farrer’s success increased during Covid-19 when watch prices began to soar, but when they eventually cooled he was allegedly left around $3 million of stock which was deprecating every day, according the the LA Times.
He told the outlet: ‘Almost overnight, prices dropped 20 percent. I was still living lavishly, still going out and buying cars.’
But he added: ‘No one ever brought me a watch and I immediately sold it and then pocketed that cash for personal use.’
His Facebook page indicates that he has dealt with watches worn by the likes of Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg
Farrer’s success increased during Covid-19 when watch prices began to soar, but when they eventually cooled he was allegedly left around $3 million of stock which was deprecating every day
However, several clients who had given Farrer their watches on consignment noted they were not listed on his website and nor had not been notified of a sale.
Among them is Liron Levi, 33, who allegedly lost around $350,000 after handing over a Rolex and a Richard Mille to Farrer.
Levi told the LA Times he signed a consignment agreement, but never received any money, and that Farrer admitting he no longer had them in his possession. Levi later saw the Rolex up for sale on another watch dealer’s site in New York.
In one instance a customer recorded Farrer promising to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ after he confronted him about not receiving any money for his watches.
Bob Schober, 50, had previously bought from Farrer and gave him two watches including a Rolex to sell which he claims he never saw again.
He told the LA Times that Farrer sent him a Rolex Sea-Dweller watch instead to try and cover the debt but he became suspicious that it belonged to someone else,
Schober posted about the watch online and another of Farrer’s customers, Frank Lucente, came forward to claim it.
Lucente alleges he handed over the luxury item to Farrer, but it disappeared without trace from his website.
The dealer is also the subject of at least two lawsuits. Artin Massihi has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging that Farrer stole his $40,000 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 44mm.
Addressing the controversy swirling around his business he said in the TikTok: ‘I got a little taste of success and never wanted to forget that feeling.
‘When I did make dumb decisions I would write them off or I wouldn’t address them because if I addressed something that didn’t work then that was a failure and my ego was too big […] I got accustomed to this lifestyle’.