NFL quarterback Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany Brees, have sued a jeweler from La Jolla, California, claiming he misrepresented the value of diamonds and defrauded him out of $6.7 million.
The civil lawsuit filed in San Diego County Superior Court accuses jeweler Vahid Moradi of breach of oral contract, fraud by intentional misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud by concealment.
Brees and Moradi met through a teammate when he was in college and he had invested in a previous business with Moradi before he decided to spend money on colored diamonds as an investment, Brees' attorney said Thursday.
The two men entered into 10 transactions since they first started discussing diamonds as investments in 2010.
Moradi told Brees he would find a diamond at below market value with his contacts and that Moradi would be paid by the seller of those diamonds, according to attorney Rebecca Riley.
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In 2012, when Brees asked for a pink diamond to present to his wife for their 10th wedding anniversary, the jeweler told him he had a diamond for him for a price of $1.75 million, Riley told jurors.
The defendant sent Brees an appraisal saying the ring was worth $2.35 million, the attorney argued.
However, she said she will have experts testify in the trial that the ring was not worth that amount.
Brees bought other diamonds from Moradi including a blue diamond for $8.18 million, the attorney said.
After becoming aware the value of the diamonds was not near what he was told, Brees asked the jeweler to sell the diamonds because he thought Moradi will make right on cheating, the attorney said.
"They were now friends for more than 10 years. They thought they were friends," Riley said.
"Well, Fahid became a good friend. He became somebody I referred family and other friends too. I don't do that lightly," Drew Brees said Thursday in court.
Brees took the ring to Moradi and told him a ruse that he needs to be liquid to purchase some property.
When the jeweler couldn't sell the blue diamond, Brees decided to take legal action.
The defense argued diamonds are a good investment and explained the difference between wholesale diamonds and retail diamonds to the jury.
The typical retail profit on a diamond is 1.6 percent of the diamond's value, according to the defense. Using a calculator, the attorney showed how the diamonds sold to Brees had a 1.55 to 1.6 percent markup.
Moradi's attorney said each diamond that was sold to Brees was accompanied by a certificate from GIA.
"Drew Brees could not possibly have believed that Fahid Moradi was acting as his broker such that Drew Brees would acquire diamonds directly from the suppliers at wholesale costs," defense attorney Peter Ross said.
The trial will resume Monday. Brittany Brees and Moradi are expected to testify.
Brees plays for the New Orleans Saints but he and his family have made San Diego their home since his time playing for the San Diego Chargers.