Through a series of legal actions initiated in three countries, Gemological Institute of America says it has halted an international operation that was using counterfeit GIA Diamond Grading Reports to support diamond sales, chiefly via the internet.
GIA filed a lawsuit in Chicago alleging counterfeiting against Moti Weisbrot, whom it says is the leader of the counterfeiting activity, and others (unnamed) who participated in the activities by either producing counterfeit reports or agreeing to sell diamonds accompanied by the counterfeit documents.
GIA says is obtaining permanent injunctions against the participants in these actions, thereby stopping the counterfeiting activities. GIA also filed a counterfeiting lawsuit against Weisbrot in Israel. Additionally, GIA says it has initiated a criminal prosecution against Weisbrot in Italy.
“The legal actions were the culmination of an exhaustive process, involving GIA’s team of attorneys and investigators and a number of law enforcement agencies, that began in late February based on tips from sources inside and outside the gem and jewelry industry,” GIA said in a statement. “To GIA’s knowledge, a relatively small number of diamonds were used in the actual scheme. It is important to note that all the diamonds sold with these counterfeit Grading Reports were clarity enhanced. As a policy, the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory does not grade clarity enhanced diamonds. Thus, not only were the documents counterfeit, but they represented diamonds that would not have received a GIA Diamond Grading Report in the first place.”
GIA President William E. Boyajian said in the statement, “The public places great trust in the accuracy and integrity of GIA Diamond Grading Reports, and we go to great lengths to preserve that trust. The counterfeit reports in this case were intended to add value to clarity-enhanced diamonds by manipulating the public’s reliance on the GIA report. We took these legal actions in keeping with GIA’s mission to protect the interests of both the public and the gem and jewelry industry.”
Donna M. Baker, vice president, general counsel for GIA, added, “We thank our attorneys and investigative team, and the law enforcement authorities, for their diligence, sound judgment, and timely efforts in thwarting this counterfeiting operation. GIA will maintain its vigilance against illegalities that could harm the best interests of the public or damage the Institute’s reputation, and we will consider strong legal action whenever warranted in upholding these standards.”
GIA’s Diamond Grading Reports and other Laboratory reports incorporate security features that exceed document industry security guidelines. These include a hologram, security screen, microprint lines, chemically sensitive paper, and other proprietary security components. To view an example of a GIA Diamond Grading Report or GIA Diamond Dossier® please visit the GIA Web site at www.gia.edu. In addition, GIA urges that anyone who has a question about the authenticity of a GIA Report, or the validity of the information contained therein, may contact the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory by telephone (760-603-4500) or fax (760-603-1814).