Lawyers representing 45 New York City diamond dealers filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing a father-and-son company of stealing nearly $3.4 million worth of gems entrusted to them, according to media reports.
In the lawsuit, the dealers charge that Alfred Avi Taub, described as a 28-year-old Israeli national; his brother, Oren Taub (a k a Oran Taub); their father, Shalom S. Taub; and an associate, Shiran Atias, took the diamonds on consignment saying they would show them on the street to prospective buyers, and then refused to return them, The New York Times reports.
The civil suit says that the defendants, using the business name A. Taub Diamonds Corporation, set up a closet-size office at 15 West 47th Street, the Times reports. From May 2006 to March 2007, the defendants carried out a small but steady number of legitimate transactions, paying on time and building up their credit, according to the suit.
Then, according to The Associated Press, from April 11 to May 31, the Taubs and an associate inked 70 consignment memos with 45 dealers, acquiring $3,358,409 in diamonds that were never returned. The dealers say they lost individual amounts ranging from $18,000 to about $500,000.
On June 14, Alfred Avi Taub told several of the dealers that he had been robbed the night before and had lost $1 million in diamonds, according to the lawsuit, which claimed the robbery did not happen, the Times reports.
Cindy Molloy, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, said there are even more dealers victimized by the Taubs, but 45 are listed on the suit, the AP reports. She would not say whether police were investigating the dealers’ complaints.
The lawsuit asks for a judgment of the cash value of the diamonds plus punitive damages “in an amount that would send a message to defendants that their conduct was unacceptable and morally reprehensible,” the AP reports
On June 20, the Diamond Information Center Web site posted a letter from David Rosenberg, president of the Diamond Bourse of the Southeast United States, seeking information “regarding Avi Taub, his whereabouts or possible reasons for his behavior,” including “the location of the diamonds and who holds them.” The letter promised to keep sources confidential.