New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is suing a San Diego jeweler claiming he was given a fraudulent estimate of the value of diamonds he bought from them, defrauding him out of millions of dollars.
Brees and his wife, Brittany, filed suit against jeweler Vahid Moradi and two of his companies, CJ Charles Jewelers, and Vahid Moradi Inc. Claiming they charged them $15 million for jewels Brees later found out were only worth $6 million, the San Diego Tribune reported.
The Brees’ say that they discovered the disparity when they hired an independent appraiser to assess their collections. Drew Brees says he confronted Moradi last year after the appraiser gave his verdict.
In his suit, Brees says Moradi admitted that he marked up the sales, but claimed he had a legitimate reason to do so. Brees says the jeweler “insisted, unabashedly, that he had done nothing wrong because he charged the couple the price at which Moradi expected the jewelry could be resold in 10 to 15 years.”
The jeweler’s lawyer, Eric George from the firm Browne George Ross LLP, released a statement saying Brees should stick to football.
“Mr. Brees’ behavior and his belief that he was wronged because the jewelry did not appreciate in value as quickly as he hoped both demonstrate a lack of integrity and contradict basic principles of both economics and the law,” the attorney said. “He should restrict his game-playing to the football field, and refrain from bullying honest, hard-working businessmen like my client.”
Brees insists that he and his wife bought the jewelry for investment purposes, not to wear. But the lawsuit alleges that the settings the jewels were put into were made to mislead viewers as to the relative value of the stones.
In one case Brees claims he paid Moradi $975,000 for a pair of pink diamond earrings that the jeweler said was probably worth more like $1.4 million. But Brees’ assessor said the pair was only worth $176,398.
The fraud became evident, the Brees insist in their filing, when the diamonds were prepared for sale. The lawsuit claims the Brees discovered that the diamonds “were set in platinum painted pink to make the stones appear to be of a much stronger and more valuable color saturation.”
The lawsuit reveals several other such cases where Moradi claimed jewels were worth up to a million dollars or more but were in some cases assessed at half that.
Brees has played with the New Orleans Saints since 2006 and is a 2010 Super Bowl champion winning MVP that year. He played for the San Diego Chargers between 2001 and 2005.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.