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Woman claiming to be gem expert commits $5.7 million sneak theft

London, England – On July 20, 2021, prosecutors accused 60-year-old Lulu Lakatos of posing as a gem expert who purportedly sought to value seven diamonds on behalf of wealthy Russian buyers in March 2016.

During her interaction with the chairman of the jewelry brand and his diamond expert in the store’s basement, the chairman left the room to take a call from the so-called buyer. At this point, Lakatos switched the real diamonds with pebbles using sleight-of-hand. The diamonds were to be placed in a locked vault and held in the jeweler’s vault until the payment was processed. The store’s diamond expert was suspicious and opened the bag the following day. She discovered there were seven small pebbles.

Lakatos was arrested in France last September, on a European arrest warrant. She was extradited back to the U.K. Lakatos was assisted by two other men who helped her flee to France. Both of those individuals have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal regarding this crime.