Prosecutors have ordered three years in prison for Italian Roberto M. and Romanian Nicoleta B. who allegedly tried to perpetrate a diamond swap scam in Antwerp. They were caught red-handed in late 2017 trying to steal a $2.5 million diamond from an Antwerp diamond firm. The Italian maintains that he was hired as an expert to inspect the diamond and that he did not know that the Romanian wanted to steal the precious stone.

The firm was looking for a buyer for a 20-carat pear-shaped diamond in late 2017. A certain “Marcus” offered himself as a potential buyer through a broker. He agreed with the business owners that he would first send an expert on site to inspect the diamond.

On December 19, 2017, Roberto M. presented himself at their office. He posed as a “gemologist” from a Swiss company and was accompanied by Nicoleta B., an alleged confidante of Marcus. The business owners noticed that Roberto M. was not at all professional when inspecting the diamond. Instead of using his fingers or padded tweezers to avoid damaging the stone, he wielded ordinary tweezers, which is “not done” in the diamond world.

When Roberto M. finished his examination, he gave his approval for the sale. The diamond was placed in a box and then put in an envelope. The security camera footage showed Roberto M. standing up and thus hiding Nicoleta B. from view, whereupon she quickly replaced the envelope with another one from her jacket, containing an empty box. The business owners noticed the exchange trick, the attempted diamond swap scam, and called the police.

Business card

Nicoleta B. confessed that she was recruited in Italy for a currency exchange trick. She would get 1,000 euros for it. Roberto M. denied any involvement. However, his business card contained a spelling error and a logo and email address that did not correspond to the Swiss company for which he was supposed to be working. Camera images showed that he had purchased his working equipment in the area just before the facts. He stated in that regard that he was not allowed to bring tweezers on the plane.

Marcus‘ was identified as Giorgio A. He was allegedly in charge of the two perpetrators together with Gianluca M., who had already organized a preliminary reconnaissance at the firm in early December. The prosecutor also demanded three years in prison for them. Roberto M. was the only one who appeared at the trial, the others did not appear. “Maybe he has been a bit naive, maybe he should have known better, but he maintains that he has acted in good conscience,” his lawyer stated.