SAN DIEGO — A La Jolla jeweler defrauded Drew Brees out of millions of dollars through false claims of acquiring diamonds for him as long- term investments, Brees' attorney said today, while the jeweler's lawyer claimed an independent appraiser sabotaged his client's relationship with Brees in order to leverage his own relationship with the New Orleans Saints quarterback to sell him diamonds.
Closing arguments were delivered Wednesday afternoon in the lawsuit between Brees and a La Jolla jeweler who the former San Diego Charger alleges defrauded him and his wife out of millions when he sold them several diamonds at far above their actual value.
The Breeses say Vahid Moradi sold them $15 million in diamonds between 2012 and 2016. However, when the couple took the diamonds to an independent appraiser in 2017, they were told that the diamonds were worth about $6.7 million less than they had paid, according to Brees' attorneys.
The lawsuit, filed in San Diego Superior Court last year, accuses Moradi and his company, CJ Charles Jewelers, of selling Brees and his wife Brittany several supposedly investment grade diamonds that were supposed to appreciate in value.
Brees' attorney, Andrew Kim, told jurors that Moradi claimed he was an expert in colored diamonds, and could negotiate with sellers around the world to acquire diamonds, which were expected to appreciate as much as 200% over a three-to-five year span.
Among the most egregious examples Brees' attorneys pointed to was a diamond ring Moradi sold the Breeses for $8.1 million that was actually worth $3.75 million.
Another diamond Moradi allegedly claimed was from Europe was actually purchased from a dealer in Orange County, Kim said.
Moradi's attorney, Peter Ross, said Aldo Dinelli, a Houston-based jeweler the Breeses consulted to appraise the diamonds, was a "con man" who scammed the couple.
The attorney alleged that Dinelli advised the Breeses that Moradi had scammed them, even though he did not know how much the Breeses had paid for the pieces.
Ross said Dinelli informed Brees that he'd been ripped off, then offered up some diamonds of his own for Brees to purchase.
"Dinelli is supposed to be an independent expert, not a competitor to CJ Charles," Ross said.
Though Brees' attorneys allege that an oral agreement existed between Brees and Moradi that Moradi would secure investment-grade diamonds for Brees, Ross said that thousands of texts and emails make no mention of such an arrangement. Instead, Ross says Brees got "just what he paid for," and that many of the diamonds were purchased as gifts for Brees' wife, Brittany.
Further, Ross said any discrepancies between what Moradi paid to obtain the diamonds and what the Breeses paid him was part of a standard markup that is commonplace within the industry to allow retailers to cover business expenses, according to the attorney.