Indian businessman Nirav Modi who is on the run from the country in a multi crore fraud with India’s Punjab National Bank is wanted in another fraud case. Nirav allegedly has sold fake diamond rings to a Canadian national that cost him US$200,000 and his fiancée too. Ouch!
Reportedly, Paul Alfonso, who had no clue that Modi was involved in a US$2 billion fraud. bought two rings from the businessman in Hong Kong to propose to his girlfriend. However, their celebration was ruined after the duo found out that the diamonds were fake.
According to reports, Alfonso met 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 being kind of an elder brother figure, Alfonso, who is the Chief Executive Officer 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,” he said.
The two were not in touch for couple of years until April this year, Alfonso, unaware of the financial irregularities listed against Modi, mailed the diamond jeweller asking for a special engagement ring at a budget of US$100,000 to propose to his girlfriend. Modi offered him a 3.2-carat round brilliant diamond cut, D colour VVS1 – a high-quality grade and colourless stone at US $120,000 and thanked Alfonso for purchasing it from him.
Later Alfonso’s girlfriend expressed interest in another ring prompting him to order a second ring — a 2.5 carat oval diamond for US$80,000 from Modi. After Alfonso wired the money for both rings to a Hong Kong account, he received the rings from Modi’s assistant Ari in June. The invoice and authenticity certificates were to be wired soon.
Alfonso proposed his girlfriend with not one but both the rings and his girlfriend said yes. Both Alfonso and his fiancée wanted the rings to be insured but the certificates had not arrived. Feeling uncomfortable, he wrote to Modi reminding him of the same. Several e-mails followed, with Modi providing more assurances that the certificates were on their way.
In August, Alfonso was in for a rude shock when his fiance, who took the rings to an appraiser, found that the stones were fake. Later he found out that the Indian businessman was on the run and also got to know about Modi’s bankrupt companies and loan defaults. His girlfriend also broke up with him after the incident and Alfonso slipped into depression.
Alfonso now has now filed an unlimited civil lawsuit against Nirav in California, suing him for US$4.2 million dollars.