Nirav Modi, the fugitive businessman, allegedly sold fake diamond rings to a Canadian man for $2,00,000, according to a report in the South China Morning Post. The victim Paul Alfonso says, that his loss is not limited to money. The revelation has also cost him his girlfriend and pushed him into depression.
Paul Alfonso met Nirav Modi in 2012 at the centennial celebrations for the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2012. Months later, they ran into each other in Malibu and dined together. Adding that Modi was giving him “pep talk, kind of an older brother figure,” Alfonso, who is the chief executive of a payment processing company, said he felt a “good connection” with Modi. “In a way, I admired him and I looked up to him.”
In April this year, Alfonso, absolutely unaware of the financial irregularities cases listed against Modi, Alfonso mailed the diamond jeweller asking for “special” engagement ring at a budget of $1,00,000 to propose to his girlfriend.
Modi offered a “perfect” 3.2-carat round brilliant diamond cut, D colour, VVS1 – a high-quality grade and colourless stone at $1,20,000. “Thank you for thinking of me when you’re making one of the most meaningful purchases in any man’s life,” Modi reportedly wrote after Alfonso approved the design. But when his girlfriend showed interest in a different design Alfonso ordered a second ring — a 2.5 carat oval diamond for $80,000 from Modi, and proposed to her with both the rings.
However, despite assurances from Modi, he never received any invoice and authenticity certificates.
In August, when Alfonso’s fiancee took the rings to an appraiser, the stones were found to be fake. “When she told me, I was like ‘That’s impossible. I spent $200,000 on those rings. There’s no way they are fake. It’s Nirav we are talking about’.” said Alfonso.
His fiancee broke up with him soon after. “We broke up literally after one or two days … It was just too much for both of us to handle. It does not make sense to her, because she says: ‘You are a pretty smart guy, how did you let someone scam you out of $200,000 without making sure the transaction was legitimate?’” Alfonso told the South China Morning Post.
However, this is not the first time when Modi duped a customer with fake diamonds. Earlier this year, in February, News18 reported that Nirav Modi had sold substandard and fake diamonds to many customers, and that his company also gave fake certificates of jewellery to win customers’ trust.