Ten people have been arrested and two others charged for allegedly duping persons in New York, Las Vegas and Mumbai to the tune of over USD 9 million through fraudulent diamond trade.
Godel Sezanayev, Mark Mullakandov, Albert Foozailov, Imanil Muratov, Manashe Sezanayev, Nathan Itzchaki, Arkadiy Israilov, Ali Javidnezhad, Mark Natanzon, Sholom Muratov, Menachem Abramov and Nizamuden Akbari were arrested for defrauding diamond traders of more than USD 9 million, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon Kim said.
Two others named Javidnezhad and Akbari are absconding and have been charged, he said.
“Centered in Manhattan’s diamond district, America’s busiest hub in the diamond trade, the defendants allegedly took advantage of an industrywide system of credit and trust to obtain largely untraceable diamonds, and then, using various allegedly illegal schemes, refused to pay,” Kim said.
Since in or about 2015, the FBI has been investigating a series of predatory frauds perpetrated by a group of diamond merchants in the city. This group swindles diamond wholesalers in a variety of ways, and then resells the ill-gotten diamonds through Manhattan’s diamond district.
From at least January 2015 to November 2016, the defendants deployed an ad hoc strategy to obtain as much of the diamond inventory from the victims as possible without full payment, the attorney said.
The defendants also induced numerous victims in Mumbai to send diamonds by interstate carrier by purporting to agree to payment terms that they had no intention to, and did not, honour. The defendants caused these victims losses in excess of $7.44 million, Kim said.
According to the complaint, the victims in Mumbai worked in diamond wholesale businesses in and around the Indian city.
In about September 2016, the victims reported to Indian authorities claiming millions of dollars in losses caused by the defendants. They sent the diamonds ordered by the defendants, through a fraudulent scheme, to New York.
However, the victims did not get paid and were told over a period of time that the diamonds were with someone else or they did not have the money cash to pay. The victims have still not been paid for the diamonds that they sold in the scheme.
The 12 accused have been charged with conspiring to commit mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.