New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his wife Brittany have filed a lawsuit against a La Jolla jeweler for $9 million and punitive damages.
Brees, who is a Del Mar resident, filed the lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court against Vahid Moradi and his business CJ Charles and Vahid Moradi, Inc.
In the lawsuit, Brees claims Moradi lied about the value and quality of diamonds the football player purchased on the jeweler’s advice, including a more than $8 million ring, which was later appraised for half that.
“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,” Brees said in a statement. “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.”
Brees has been a customer and friend of Moradi since 2003, when he first started playing with the Chargers in San Diego. Moradi approached Brees about becoming his personal adviser and broker for investment grade diamonds in 2010, asserting in documents that he was an expert in the valuation, quality and acquisition of investment grade diamonds.
When Brees had the some of the diamonds reappraised he was shocked to find the value of the stones was significantly less than Moradi had claimed in CJ Charles’ GIA certified appraisals.
Along with misrepresenting the quality of the stones, Moradi also hid a piece of reflective platinum behind at least one blue diamond purchased by Brees to make the stone appear to have a higher color saturation, according to the lawsuit. He also allegedly painted low-quality pink diamond settings with rose-colored paint.
Investment grade diamonds have significantly increased since 2010, the lawsuit claims, and the Breeses would have realized significant returns on their investments if they had acquired them at the same prices that Moradi paid the sellers. The lawsuit claims Moradi pocketed millions of dollars for himself.
The Breeses are suing Moradi for Fraud By Intentional Misrepresentation, Breach Of Fiduciary Duty, Fraud By Concealment, Breach of Oral Contract, Conversion, Breach of Oral Contract and Violation of Business And Professions Code Section 17200.
The lawyer representing Moradi released a statement saying in part:
"He should restrict his game-playing to the football field, and refrain from bullying honest, hard-working businessmen like my client."