Surat and Mumbai diamantaires engaged in $600M US money transfer scam

Gujarat Diamond Company Owners at the Center of an Elaborate Scheme in New York's Diamond District


Surat : The Indian diamond industry, a global leader in the gem trade, is facing a severe blow to its reputation in the United States following the shocking revelation of a $600 million illegal money transfer scam. The scandal implicates four diamond company owners hailing from Gujarat, who allegedly used various diamond, gold, and jewelry businesses in New York City’s renowned Diamond District to facilitate hundreds of millions of dollars in unlawful financial transactions.

The exposé has rattled the diamond industry in Surat and Mumbai, which is predominantly dominated by Gujarati diamantaires. The scandal involves the fraudulent use of multiple front companies operating in the heart of New York’s Diamond District. These fronts were allegedly employed to carry out illicit financial dealings, including the conversion of cash into checks or wire transfers in exchange for hefty fees.

Several companies have emerged as key players in this nefarious operation, including Arya Diamond Jewellery USA Inc., doing business as “Karats & Carats,” Diamspark LGD LLC, Royal Diamonds LLC, Raj Gold and Diamond LLC, Royal Arya Jewellery Inc, and Raj Gold and Diamond Inc. What sets these businesses apart is their lack of registration as legitimate money transmitting entities with the relevant authorities, including New York, New Jersey, or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

The alleged masterminds behind this audacious scheme have been identified as Raj Vaidya, 26; Rakesh Vaidya, 51; Shrey Vaidya, 23; and Neel Patel, 26, all residents of Edison, New Jersey. Joining them is Youssef Janfar, also known as “Joe Rodeo,” aged 57, from Great Neck, New York. Each of the accused individuals faces charges of operating and aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business.

The accused made their initial appearances before US Magistrate Judge Edward S. Kiel in Newark federal court. They were subsequently released on unsecured bond, awaiting further legal proceedings.

The staggering scale of this illicit operation has cast a shadow over the Indian diamond industry’s image, both domestically and internationally. The reputation, painstakingly built over decades of ethical trade and craftsmanship, now faces a daunting challenge in rebuilding trust.