Drew Brees is accusing a California jeweler he met early in his NFL career of scamming him out of $9 million over the years by making the New Orleans Saints quarterback badly overpay for diamonds.
Brees and his wife, Brittany, leveled the allegations in a 29-page lawsuit filed Monday against Vahid Moradi, who runs CJ Charles Jewelers in San Diego and once supposedly told the former Super Bowl champion that he was like family.
In a statement, Moradi's attorney, Eric George, denied any wrongdoing by his client, saying Brees "aggressively purchased" diamonds — including an $8 million ring — whose worth didn't increase in value as quickly as he wanted.
"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," George's statement said. "He should restrict his game-playing to the football field, and refrain from bullying honest, hard-working businessmen like my client."
Brees' lawsuit claims he and Brittany met Moradi about two years after he was drafted by the Chargers, who played in San Diego at the time. Brees wanted to buy watches that he could wear but would increase in value over time, and a friend recommended Moradi.
Moradi became fast friends with Brees and his wife, becoming involved with the couple's charitable foundation and telling the star quarterback that he was "a very close and dear friend."
Meanwhile, the Breeses bought retail jewels, diamonds and watches from Moradi to use for themselves and as gifts.
Then, from late 2012 through 2016, the couple spent $15 million on diamonds that Moradi allegedly advised them would appreciate in value within a few years. More than half that amount went into a blue diamond ring that the Breeses acquired at a price of nearly $8.2 million.
Trouble brewed in early 2017, when — during a routine review — the Breeses' financial adviser recommended that the couple have an independent appraiser evaluate their investment diamonds.
That expert had bad news: the Breeses had paid $9 million more for the diamonds in question than they were actually worth, according to the lawsuit.
Perhaps most egregiously, the $8.2 million ring was actually worth about $3.6 million — a staggering markup of 118 percent, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit claims the 11-time Pro Bowler confronted Moradi about the discrepancy, and the jeweler admitted to charging "a substantial markup."
Prepared by attorneys Andrew Kim and Rebecca Riley, the lawsuit filed in San Diego on Monday seeks to recover at least $9 million in damages as well as a refund for the $244,000.
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