Crime

Nehal Modi Sentenced to 3-9 Years in Grand Larceny Case

CrimeAug 08, 2022

Nehal Modi Sentenced to 3-9 Years in Grand Larceny Case

He was convicted last month after falsely claiming he had a deal with Costco in order to obtain millions in diamonds from LLD Diamonds USA.

New York—Nehal Modi was sentenced to three to nine years in state prison for perpetrating a scheme in which he stole millions in diamonds from wholesaler LLD Diamonds, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office announced late last month.

Modi, 43, was the CEO of Gitanjali Gems-owned Samuels Jewelers, which filed for bankruptcy and ultimately ended up closing all of its stores in 2019 in the wake of the $2 billion banking scandal in India allegedly involving Modi’s uncle, Gitanjali Chairman Mehul Choksi, as well as his brother, Nirav Modi, among others. 

The case brought against Nehal Modi in New York involved $2.6 million of diamonds he obtained from LLD Diamonds USA LLC, also known as Lev Leviev Diamonds, over a six-month period in 2015. 

According to the Manhattan D.A., Modi first approached LLD Diamonds in March 2015 and obtained about $800,000 in diamonds from the wholesaler by falsely claiming he had a contract with Costco Wholesale Corp., which Modi said had agreed to purchase diamonds from LLD.

LLD allowed him to purchase the diamonds on credit but instead of selling them to Costco, Modi pawned them at Modell Collateral Loans Inc., pocketing $450,000 for personal gain.

In April and May 2015, Modi went back to LLD Diamonds three more times and obtained an additional $1 million-plus in diamonds that he allegedly was going to sell to Costco but instead pawned or sold for a discount. 

He did make payments but used most of the proceeds from the diamond sales for his own personal use and other business expenses, according to the D.A.’s office.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Modi returned to LLD Diamonds again in August 2015. By this time, his debt totaled almost $1 million.

LLD allowed Modi to take more diamonds but on consignment this time and under the condition that Modi could not sell these diamonds without LLD’s authorization.

The company also asked for partial payment upfront.

Modi, however, already had a plan in place to sell the diamonds to Modell Collateral Loans, said the D.A., and sold most of them to Modell for $300,000 on the same day he picked them up from LLD. He sold the rest to various retailers at a discount.

LLD eventually discovered the fraud and reported it to the Manhattan D.A.’s office, which handed the case to a team of investigators including Detective Joseph Metsopulos from the New York Police Department’s Major Case Squad, who received the John J. Kennedy Award for law enforcement excellence at AGS Conclave this year.

A jury convicted Nehal Modi of one count of grand larceny in the first degree, a Class B felony in the state of New York, on July 7.

He was sentenced on July 29 and is currently in custody.

His attorney, New York-based Roger J. Bernstein, told National Jeweler on Monday that he plans to file an appeal but declined any further comment on the case. 

Editor’s note: This story was updated post-publication to add a comment from Nehal Modi’s attorney.

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