Two U.S.-based diamond merchants have been convicted for defrauding Indian victims in Mumbai out of more than $12 million in diamonds.
Sholom Muratov and Menachem Abramov were convicted Oct. 24, following a seven-day trial in Manhattan federal court, of conspiring to defraud diamond sellers in Mumbai, India out of more than $12 million in loose diamonds. Abramov and, 32, Muratov, 36, have been convicted of conspiring to commit mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Muratov will be sentenced on March 26, 2019 and Abramov will be sentenced on March 28, 2019, by Judge Lorna G. Schofield, who presided over the trial.
Ten other defendants have previously pled guilty in connection with their participation in this and related schemes, a press release from the U,S. Attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan, said.
“These defendants engaged in a brazen, multi-million dollar fraud scheme extending from New York to Mumbai. Thanks to the outstanding work of our law enforcement partners, these fraudsters have been convicted at trial and will be sentenced for their crime,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman is quoted saying in a press release.
According to the evidence presented at trial:
Investigators found that from in or about December 2015, up to and including at least in or about December 2016, Muratov and Abramov participated in a coordinated and wide-ranging conspiracy to defraud a group of diamond wholesalers in Mumbai out of millions of dollars in loose diamonds known as “melee” diamonds.
The scheme involved numerous misrepresentations to the Mumbai merchants, including but not limited to: (i) the defendants’ corporate affiliations; (ii) the longevity and track records of those corporations; (iii) that the defendants were not affiliated with one another, and, most significantly; (iv) purporting to agree to payment terms proposed by the victim-Merchants in order to induce them to release diamonds without having received full payment.
Together, through these fraudulent misrepresentations, the defendants succeeded in convincing the Mumbai merchants to provide them over $12 million worth of loose diamonds, for which Muratov and Abramov, and their co-conspirators provided no payment. Members of the conspiracy then sold the diamonds in Manhattan’s Diamond District.