A Jewish jeweler whose insurance company believes he committed fraud claimed he accidentally threw out nearly $1 million worth of diamonds last year, while rushing to arrive at a trade show before Shabbat, the New York Post reported on Friday.
Bobby Yashaya, the owner of Max Jewelry on W. 47th St. in New York City, claimed that the May 2015 incident occurred as he was preparing to leave for Las Vegas.
After wrapping four single 8- to 12-carat diamonds and a pair of diamond earrings in white paper pouches and fastening them with a rubber band, he said, he accidentally brushed them off the table into the garbage can, along with a pile of papers and napkins.
While hastily exiting the premises, he said, he saw a member of the building’s cleaning staff arrive to empty the bin.
According to the New York Post, Yashaya only realized what he had done five days later, during the Las Vegas convention, at which point he phoned his wife in New York and asked her to rush to his store and search through the trash. But to no avail.
“I felt like crying,” he said. “There’s millions of tons of garbage. My diamonds were someplace, [but the landlord said] they could be in Staten Island, they could be in New Jersey.’’
“I didn’t sleep. I was praying. I was praying that they would be found. My heart fell, and I couldn’t work,” recounted the jeweler, who is now suing his insurance company, Lloyd’s of London, in an effort to recover his $864,100 loss. “I’m upset with myself about how stupid I am.”
Yashaya claimed that though he does not possess the original receipts for the discarded gems, he provided Lloyd’s with other documents that validate their purchase. In court papers, he accused a Lloyd’s agent of being “hostile” and even threatening to “send [him] to multiple lie-detector tests regarding the loss.”
Yashaya’s lawyer said Lloyd’s settled for two days of testimony under oath, the New York Post reported, but has not compensated Yashaya for the loss and has canceled his policy with the company, leaving his business “paralyzed.”
“I did everything I was supposed to have done,” Yashaya said about the filing of his claim. “This is an accident. This is why we have insurance, for accidents.”