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US woman scammed out of $720,000 in fake jewellery scheme in India’s Rajasthan

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A US woman was defrauded of by a swindler in India’s western state, Rajasthan, by selling her jewelry worth  ₹300 ($3.59) for  ₹60,000,000 (approximately $720,000). A jeweler duo from Jaipur allegedly polished silver jewelry with a chain and sold it to a US woman at the price of gold.

According to the reports received from the police, a US woman named Cherish Nortje met the jeweler owner on social media in 2022. She bought jewelry for the last two years worth $720,000, considering it genuine jewelry.

Nortje discovered the fraud when her jewelry was rejected as fake at an exhibition in the US last April. Experts confirmed that the jewelry was low-cost and the case was indeed fraud.

In May, she returned to Jaipur and confronted the shop owners, identified as Rajendra Soni and his son Gaurav, who dismissed her claims. This led to a heated argument, and eventually, all parties went to the police station to resolve the matter.

The woman demanded her fake jewelry be replaced and claimed irregularities in the carat and quantities as well. Rajendra and Gaurav Soni denied these allegations, insisting she had purchased the jewelry from their shop.

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Police reviewed CCTV footage showing the woman leaving the shop with the jewelry. On May 18, she filed an FIR against the shop owners. A case was registered under section 420 (fraud) of the Indian Penal Code against Rajendra and Gaurav.

Jaipur police, with assistance from the US Embassy, investigated and found that the jewelry was silver with gold polish, significantly overvalued by the shop owners. Rajendra and Gaurav Soni had polished silver chains with gold and sold $300-worth moissanite stones at higher prices with fake certificates.

The police confirmed the fraud through lab tests in Sitapura and arrested Nand Kishore, who had been issuing fake certificates for money. Authorities are now searching for Rajendra and Gaurav Soni, forming special teams to locate the absconding suspects.

The incident has significant implications for the city’s reputation as a global jewelry hub, casting doubt on the authenticity and quality of its offerings.

Known for its high-quality jewelry, Jaipur attracts buyers from across India and the world. However, this incident has disrupted its reputation, worrying both local authorities and international visitors about the city’s trustworthiness as a jewelry market.

The scam has shaken the confidence of international tourists and buyers in the Jaipur jewelry market, renowned for its gems and diamonds. This could lead to a decline in tourism and sales, with local jewelers and businesses concerned about the negative impact on the market’s integrity.

Jaipur’s jewelry industry, which has built global trust and authenticity over the years, is now at risk due to the actions of two individuals. The incident could cause a decline in tourist confidence, potentially affecting the broader economy, including hospitality, transport, and local artisans.

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