An Australian man has been arrested for allegedly selling clarity-enhanced gems with phony Gemological Institute of America grading reports.
Detective Shane Conant, an investigator in Castle Hill, Australia, told JCK that the man, a resident of Sydney, has been charged with obtaining a financial advantage by deception and making a false instrument. Conant says the fake reports were produced by Moti Weisbrot of Israel’s First Diamond Group. Weisbrot is the subject of a GIA lawsuit that also charges he sold counterfeit “certs.” GIA also has initiated criminal charges against Weisbrot in Italy.
The reports allegedly produced by Weisbrot identified the stones as clarity-enhanced diamonds, which GIA does not grade. Conant says the man in Australia sold the stones with no reference to their treatment. “He altered a false certificate,” Conant says.
Conant claims the man also sold cubic zirconias as diamonds.
The reports were signed by Todd Douglas Jacobs, a Chicago-area active student at GIA. Jacobs has been suspended pending an investigation, GIA says.
According to a GIA statement, the institute is still trying to discover how the suspects are connected and how many reports are in circulation. “Since many of the counterfeit GIA grading reports were offered in connection with diamonds being sold via the Internet, there may be several other countries where the counterfeit reports were sold,” the statement said. “We understand that there are individuals in the U.S. who have purchased clarity-enhanced diamonds with counterfeit grading reports and at least one individual in Singapore.”
Asked how many phony reports had been sold in Australia, Conant said, “I hate to even think. This has been going on for years.”
Weisbrot did not respond to requests for comment left at his business in Israel. Jacobs declined comment.