NEW ORLEANS (AP/ News 8) — New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has filed a lawsuit accusing a California businessman of cheating him out of $9 million through jewelry purchases.
Area media report that Brees and his wife filed suit Monday in California against Vahid Moradi, who operates CJ Charles Jewelers in San Diego.
Brees claims multiple pieces of jewelry he purchased as investments over time appraised for $9 million less than he paid for the pieces. The items include a blue-diamond ring that cost about $8.2 million.
The suit claims Brees confronted Moradi and the dealer admitted to charging a substantial markup. The suit says the two were close friends.
An attorney for Moradi says Brees attempted to "bully" the man after items didn't increase in value the way the player had hoped they would.
"He should restrict his game-playing to the football field," attorney Eric George said. "And refrain from bullying honest, hard-working businessmen like my client."
A statement was given by Eric George on behalf of Vahid Moradi:
Drew Brees aggressively purchased multi-million dollar pieces of jewelry. Years later, claiming to suffer 'cash flow problems,' he tried to bully my client into undoing the transactions.
Mr. Brees's 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.
He should restrict his game-playing to the football field, and refrain from bullying honest, hard-working businessmen like my client.
Drew Brees also issued a statement on the matter:
From 2010 to 2016, Moradi advised us to allocate funds into an alternative asset class of investment grade diamonds and told us that he would use his connections and expertise to acquire them on our behalf at or below market value. In an effort to diversify our investment portfolio, we trusted Moradi and invested. Moradi assured us he was being compensated by the sellers for any investment grade diamonds he acquired on our behalf. In the end it was all a scam. After thinking long and hard, Brittany and I decided to take this lawsuit on in part because we fear we are not the only ones Moradi has misled and defrauded."