Indian American jeweler charged with international trade fraud

Shah operated jewelry companies in New York City’s Diamond district, according to the US Attorney's Office statement

Representative image / image - iStock

Indian American jeweler Monishkumar Kirankumar Doshi Shah, alias Monish Doshi Shah, has been charged with illegally evading customs duties for millions of dollars of jewelry imports in the US.

The 39-year-old from Mumbai, India, who resides in New Jersey, has also been charged for illegally processing money through unlicensed money transmitting businesses, US Attorney Philip R Sellinger recently announced.

Shah had operated jewelry companies in New York City’s Diamond district, according to the US Attorney's Office statement. He faces charges for engaging in a scheme to evade duties for shipments of jewelry from Turkey and India to the US from January 2015 through September 2023.

As per court documents, Shah would ship or instruct his conspirators to ship goods from Turkey or India – which would have been subject to an approximately 5.5 percent duty if shipped directly to the US – to one of Shah’s companies in South Korea.

His conspirators in South Korea would then change the labels on the jewelry to state that they were from South Korea instead of Turkey or India, further shipping them to Shah or his customers in the US, thereby unlawfully evading the duty.

During the scheme, Shah shipped millions of dollars of jewelry from South Korea to the US. The court took note that Shah operated numerous purported jewelry companies in New York City’s Diamond district from July 2020 through November 2021, including MKore LLC (MKore), MKore USA Inc. (MKore USA), and Vruman Corp. (Vruman).

He used these entities to conduct millions of dollars in illegal financial transactions for customers, including converting cash to checks or wire transfers. Shah would also collect cash from customers and use conspirators’ jewelry companies, which were also located in the Diamond district, to convert the cash into wires or checks.

At times, Shah and his conspirators moved more than a million dollars of cash in a single day. In exchange for their services, Shah and his conspirators charged a fee. None of Shah’s or his conspirators’ companies were registered as money-transmitting businesses with New York, New Jersey, or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), as per the documents.

According to the law, a wire fraud conspiracy charge is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison. The charge of operating, aiding, and abetting the operation of an illegal money-transmitting business carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Each count is also punishable by a maximum fine of either US$ 250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.

He was arrested over the weekend and appeared before US Magistrate Judge André M. Espinosa in Newark federal court on February 26, 2024. He was released on a US$ 100K bond, with home detention and location monitoring