A 13.15-carat diamond was abruptly pulled from Christie's Dec. 6 Magnificent Jewels auction. A federal agent alleged the diamond was stolen and part of a larger $90-million jewelry heist. A criminal complaint filed on November 21 alleged that the jewelry theft occurred between June and August 2022.
According to a federal agent, the diamond was stolen as part of a wider $90-million jewellery crime. According to a criminal complaint filed by a federal investigator, a $90-million jewellery robbery was tracked back to a guy who purported to be a psychic and encouraged his victim to send 17 priceless stones and timepieces in exchange for a spiritual cleaning.
The high-stakes heist, which was originally reported by Court Watch, includes a 13.15-carat pink diamond that was scheduled to be auctioned off at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels event on December 6. The piece, dubbed the “Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond Ring,” was predicted to fetch up to $35 million at auction.
13.15-carat Diamond Pulled From Christie's
According to Rapaport, a jewellery trade newspaper, the diamond was immediately taken from the auction on Thanksgiving Day without explanation.
“We can confirm that we cooperated with the authorities,” a Christie’s official told Insider. “However, Christie’s does not comment on current investigations in which we are not a party.”
A scheme worthy of a blockbuster heist film has already been hatched behind the scenes. According to a police complaint filed on November 21, the jewellery theft occurred between June and August 2022, after an employee of a rich Doha, Qatar, resident sought “relationship and love guidance” from a psychic roughly four years earlier.
The employee, described in the lawsuit as Victim 1, ultimately communicated with someone online in April 2019 using the alias “1111Giovanni1111.” According to the court filing, the employee believed the man was a “psychic and a love specialist.”
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force eventually linked the username to a guy named John Lee with a Florida driver’s licence.
The victim repeatedly paid for Lee’s services over the following few years. The professional relationship became more intense when Lee asked the employee to give him some personal jewels to his Florida residence “to be cleaned” around June 2022.
According to the court record, “Victim 1 submitted the property to him in the belief that he might cleanse the jewellery of bad spirits.” Lee returned back the jewellery after performing the “spiritual deeds” he promised, according to the document.
However, even after the cleansing, the employee complained of “bad sensations,” according to the agent. So Lee persuaded his client to send even more jewellery, this time from the employee’s supervisor, a rich Doha, Qatar, resident.
The employee stole jewellery from the employer’s safe and shipped it to locations in Florida and New Jersey. According to the lawsuit, Lee promised his client that the jewellery would not be returned until August 2022.
However, a few days before the scheduled return date, Lee informed the customer that if the jewellery was shipped back, it would be confiscated by customs. According to court records, the self-proclaimed psychic then directed his client to meet him in Cannes, France, to physically acquire the things, but he never showed up.
The staffer attempted to contact Lee many times. “Please stop I don’t know what you were talking about I don’t believe you need a psychic you need a doctor God bless,” Lee answered on August 23, 2022.
The employer’s safe lost 17 valuables, including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and timepieces. According to the lawsuit, the jewellery was worth more than $90 million in total. He then pawned the jewellery for a fraction of its worth.
One of the things allegedly obtained by Lee by federal authorities was a pink emerald-cut diamond. According to the criminal complaint, he sold the $31 million diamond to a watch broker in return for only $8 million in watches and loose stones.
According to a news statement issued by Christie’s on November 14, a “private collector” approached the auction house about selling the pink diamond.
However, an anonymous witness recognised the description of the object and knew who owned it, allowing investigators to seize the diamond before it was auctioned off, according to the criminal complaint.
On November 22, Lee was arrested in New Jersey and charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen goods.
Christie’s is a British auction company founded by James Christie in 1766. Its headquarters are located on King Street in St James’s, London, Rockefeller Center in New York City, and Alexandra House in Hong Kong. Groupe Artémis, François-Henri Pinault’s holding company, owns it.
Christie’s sold the Princie Diamond to the Qatari royal family for a record-breaking $39.3 million.
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