Scammers in Israel are selling diamonds online and over the phone to mostly French speakers with promises of up to 8% returns annually when the existence of the stones is doubtful, Times of Israel warned.
The two-years-old racket is similar to the mostly fraudulent options industry Israel illegalized two months ago.
In one case, 200 customers paid thousands of dollars to buy diamonds from a company run by a Frenchman who is living in Israel and running his company from a London building acting as an address for 956 other companies. Ultimately, all trails led to Israel, a French official said.
Although France’s Financial Markets Regulator blacklisted one diamond company in 2016 and 80 more since, there are plenty more.
A former Tel Aviv-based employee of such a firm told Times of Israel that his former workplace perpetrated fraud by using false identities, misrepresenting expertise and location, and breaking off contact with customers seeking to withdraw funds.