A gang of conmen who used Monopoly money to trick jewellery store owners as part of a £7m scam have been sent to jail for a combined total of 22 years.
The sentencing follows an investigation into organised frauds, including an elaborate fraud in Bristol where a jeweller lost £420,000 worth of diamonds, diamond rings and watches, another in London where a jeweller was defrauded £6.1m, a £250,000 theft in Wiltshire and a £200,000 theft in Leeds.
Bristol Crown Court heard that in the Bristol fraud a jeweller from South Wales met members of the group at the Marriott Hotel, Lower Castle Street in August 2014.
The offenders paid the jeweller a banker’s draft for the diamonds and apparently genuine euros for the watches. After a problem was discovered with the banker’s draft, it was agreed he would be given euros as security to cover the value of the draft, until it was corrected the next day.
The jeweller was then provided with bundles of €100 notes (£79), totalling more than €500,000 (£400,000), but it was later found that these notes were found to be counterfeit, having the word ‘Monopoly’ printed down the centre.
It is believed the notes were printed in this way so that if the offenders were stopped in possession of them, they could say that they were clearly not genuine and therefore could not be used to deceive anybody.
The majority of the group were arrested on 12 November 2014 at an address in Nottingham, where many pieces of stolen jewellery were recovered along with around £150,000 in sterling, euros and US currencies.
“These crimes have had significant impact on the individual victims, and I am extremely pleased that we were able to recover and return a significant amount of the jewellery that was taken from them.”
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- Dragoslav Djordjevic, 44, of Nottingham, admitted conspiracy to commit fraud (Bristol), theft (Wiltshire) and concealing criminal property (money laundering) and was jailed for seven years and four months
- Juliano Nikolic, 26, of Nottingham, admitted conspiracy to commit fraud (Bristol) and concealing criminal property (money laundering) and was jailed for four years and four months
- Bruno Nikolic, 27, of Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, admitted conspiracy to commit fraud (Bristol) and was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment
- Dusica Nikolic, 45, of Nottingham, had previously admitted concealing criminal property (money laundering) and was jailed on 4 September, 2015 for two and a half years.
- Gianni Accamo, 44, of no fixed address admitted conspiring to commit fraud (London) and was convicted after trial of theft (Leeds) and was jailed for six years