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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 25, 2018

Two New York Diamond Merchants Convicted For Defrauding Victims Out Of More Than $12 Million In Diamonds

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SHOLOM MURATOV and MENACHEM ABRAMOV were convicted yesterday, following a seven-day trial in Manhattan federal court, of conspiring to defraud diamond sellers in Mumbai, India out of more than $12 million in loose diamonds. MURATOV will be sentenced on March 26, 2019 and ABRAMOV will be sentenced on March 28, 2019, by Judge Lorna G. Schofield, who presided over the trial.

Ten other defendants have previously pled guilty in connection with their participation in this and related schemes.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “These defendants engaged in a brazen, multi-million dollar fraud scheme extending from New York to Mumbai.  Thanks to the outstanding work of our law enforcement partners, these fraudsters have been convicted at trial and will be sentenced for their crime.

According to the evidence presented at trial:

From in or about December 2015, up to and including at least in or about December 2016, MURATOV and ABRAMOV participated in a coordinated and wide-ranging conspiracy to defraud a group of diamond wholesalers in Mumbai (the “Victim Merchants”) out of millions of dollars in loose diamonds known as “melee” diamonds. The scheme involved numerous misrepresentations to the Victim Merchants, including but not limited to: (i) the defendants’ corporate affiliations; (ii) the longevity and track records of those corporations; (iii) that the defendants were not affiliated with one another, and, most significantly; (iv) purporting to agree to payment terms proposed by the Victim Merchants in order to induce the Victim Merchants to release diamonds without having received full payment.  Together, through these fraudulent misrepresentations, the defendants succeeded in convincing the Victim Merchants to provide them over $12 million worth of loose diamonds, for which MURATOV, ABRAMOV, and their co-conspirators provided no payment.  Members of the conspiracy then sold the diamonds in Manhattan’s Diamond District.

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MENCHAM ABRAMOV, 32, and SHOLOM MURATOV, 36, have been convicted of conspiring to commit mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge. 

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding work of the FBI, the CBP, and the NYPD.

The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Noah Falk, Andrew Thomas, and Drew Skinner are in charge of the case.

Press Release Number: 
18-370
Updated October 25, 2018