Indian American jeweller Raman Handa, who runs a chain of upmarket stores in Boston, Massachusetts, has allegedly fled to India amid rumours of financial problems and unpaid debts.
Handa, who built Alpha Omega as a leading jewellery and watches brand in the New England region since 1980, is said to have boarded a plane for India on Saturday with his son and daughter who are also involved in the family-owned business.
On Thursday, Alpha Omega's four branches were closed. The company's website was also shut down, save for an advisory directing all inquiries to a number belonging to the company's administrative office.
IANS could not get a response from that number.
The Boston Goble reported on Friday that final documents "show Handa's debts were mounting and yesterday his lawyer said Handa's bank had taken possession of the assets at his upscale jewellery stores, which were closed for business five days before Christmas."
The company's human resources director, Robert Joy, however, told the Boston Herald: "We're not in financial chaos."
He said Handa had taken ill and went to India to "seek medical advice and convalesce."
But Radwan Kheireddine, a senior manager at one of the stores, told the Herald that men representing an unidentified consulting group working with Handa's bank were in the flagship store in Cambridge's busy Herald Square, asking about the inventory. He believed the company would be sold by year's end.
The company's regular advertising in local publications had stopped a month ago.
Speaking about his origins in India, Handa had told New England's ethnic Indian website Lokvani: "I assisted my father in his business in India, dealing with precious stones, and then we moved to London. I moved to the Boston area in the late 1970s and have been here since."
"Due to our credibility, we have been able to carry the best name brands in watches like Rolex, Omega, Christian Dior, Gucci, Longines, Montblanc, Movado, TAG Heuer and Zodiac."