A spectacular 13.15-carat pink diamond ring worth up to a staggering $35 million was pulled from Christie’s New York auction at the last minute – after it was discovered it was part of an elaborate $90 million jewelry heist involving a Florida psychic.
The suspected swindler, John Lee, 56, of New Jersey and Florida, has been charged with wire fraud, mail fraud and interstate transportation of stolen goods, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. If convicted, he faces 20 years behind bars on each charge.
The signature ring described by Christie’s as ‘a phenomenon in the world of rare diamond,’ was set to be shown publicly to prospective buyers in Hong Kong and New York City, but it was later revealed that it was part of an elaborate $90 million jewelry heist that involved an employee of a wealthy individual in Doha, Qatar.
The person who was employed by the wealthy resident reached out to Lee on an online platform seeking ‘relationship and love advice,’ but instead ended up helping steal $90 million dollars worth of jewelry, court records revealed, first reported by CourtWatch.
Seventeen precious gems were snatched from the safe of the employer back in August and mailed to Lee, the authorities said. Christie’s was set to auction off the rare stone December 6, 2022 until the FBI intervened.
The suspected swindler, John Lee, 56, of New Jersey and Florida, has been charged with wire fraud, mail fraud and interstate transportation of stolen goods, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida
The pink diamond ring described by Christie’s as ‘a phenomenon in the world of rare diamond,’ was set to be shown publicly to prospective buyers in Hong Kong and New York City, was estimated to fetch a $25 to $35 million dollars
In the packages were high priced exclusive items that included a white diamond – approximately 42-carats – as well as two large canary diamonds, a necklace consisting of approximately 150 diamonds’ to Lee, court documents reveal.
The stolen pieces also included precious metals and stones, such as diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, as well as watches.
The jewelry had a purchase price value of over $90 million, according to the court filing.
Florida prosecutors said that in June 2022, the employee – who has not been identified – sent their own jewelry to Lee ‘in the hope that he could cleanse the jewelry of bad spirits,’ the news outlet reported.
The employee believed Lee would rid any bad omens as promised, and then return the jewelry, the prosecutors said.
But, when the employee did not believe the cleanse helped rid them of their ‘negativity’, Lee then advised them to use their boss’s jewels, the legal documents state.
The slick con man pictured in a gray suit calls himself ‘Master Advisor’ under the name 111Giovanni1111 promising clients his 1,111 angels will ‘help guide me to advise you.’
‘Tired Of False Promises? Ready To Hear The Truth? Is It Time To Move On Or Hold On ? Allow me to share my special gift with you and get the peace you truly deserve,’ Lee wrote on his profile page that appeared on the Purple Garden site.
After Christie’s was made aware of the scheme the auction house wrote in a statement that the pink diamond had been ‘withdrawn from sales.’
According to the Justice Department, the employee continued to steal from her employer and send the jewels to the fraudster – at least four times.
They would go to their employer’s safe and remove the rare jewels before mailing them via FedEx in Qatar to America.
An exterior photo of Christie’s auction house
The profile page of John Lee states that ‘this advisor is no longer available’
The arrest warrant for John Lee, the so-called psychic swindler
Lee promised the employee that he would return the jewels.
The pair were supposed to meet in Cannes France, but according to the employee Lee never showed and gaslighted them.
The employee then confessed to their boss, who was not publicly identified in legal papers, reported The New York Post.
Lee allegedly traded one diamond worth $31 million dollars to a watch broker in exchange for watches and diamonds worth $8 million dollars, CourtWatch reported.
He also sold 150 diamonds to that same watch broker for $4 million dollars in cash and timepieces, the report said.
The vivid pink diamond stunner had apparently gone through another buyer before it reached Christie’s. The auction house made the rare stone ‘its signature item’ for its December auction.
They shared in their press material that ‘this Fancy Vivid pink diamond ring ranks as one of the most important colored diamonds ever to appear on the market,’ the news outlet reported.
A Christie’s spokesperson told CourtWatch, ‘we can confirm that we are cooperating with the authorities but Christie’s does not comment on ongoing investigations into which we are not a party.’
Lee is due in court in Florida later this month.