New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his wife Brittany claim they were scammed out of $9 million over a six year period by a San Diego jeweler, reports CBS sports.
The couple say they made the claim after they had their jewelry collection appraised and were told its value was $9 million less than the $15 million that Vahid Moradi of CJ Charles Jewelers sold it to them for, according to a lawsuit they declared last week originally pulled by The Times-Picayune.
"From 2010 to 2016, Moradi advised [my wife and I] to allocate funds into an alternative asset class of investment grade diamonds and told us that he would use his connections and expertise to acquire them on our behalf at or below market value," Brees said in a statement to TMZ. "In an effort to diversify our investment portfolio, we trusted Moradi and invested. Moradi assured us he was being compensated by the sellers for any investment-grade diamonds he acquired on our behalf.
"In the end, it was all a scam," he said.
"After thinking long and hard, Brittany and I decided to take this lawsuit on in part because we fear we are not the only ones Moradi has misled and defrauded," he added.
One diamond that cost them $8.1 million is apparently only valued at $3.75 million, reports TMZ.
The couple is seeking $9 million in damages, plus a refund for $244,000 that Brees claims to have wired Moradi for a watch that he ultimately decided not to buy, according to USA Today.
In response, Moradi has denied any wrongdoing. "Drew Brees aggressively purchased multi-million dollar pieces of jewelry. Years later, claiming to suffer 'cash flow problems,' he tried to bully my client into undoing the transactions," said his attorney, Eric M. George. "Mr. Brees's behavior and his belief that he was wronged because the jewelry did not appreciate in value as quickly as he hoped both demonstrate a lack of integrity and contradict basic principles of both economics and the law."
When CNBC Make It reached out to Moradi for comment, a spokesman said that Moradi has been in the jewelry business for 30 years and has never faced any kind of legal action.
He also pointed out that the jewelry Moradi sold Brees was checked out by and independent party and GIA certified prior to the sale. "It got the highest possible grade in evaluation before Drew Brees bought it," the spokesman said.
Investing in jewelry can be a path to wealth, as long as you know your stuff. It can also be quite tricky for outsiders. "You should never buy jewelry as a short-term investment if you are not in the business," Simon Teakle, a jewelry shop owner in Connecticut, told the Huffington Post.
"When you are buying with an investment in mind, you must be as critical as possible on quality and condition, provenance and what the strong names in and styles in signed pieces are. These definitely have longevity to them but you need to learn how to buy what you love but also buy wise."
If you're not an expert and your investment relies on the advice of someone you might not necessarily be able to trust, there are safer ways to grow your money, such as a retirement account or a low-cost index fund.
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