A gang of fraudsters paid for luxury watches and jewellery worth in excess of £500,000 using money from the board game Monopoly, a jury has been told.
A trial taking place at Bristol Crown Court is focusing on three scams said to have occurred London, Bristol and Leeds.
The Bristol Post reported that the scams, some of which are admitted, all involve genuine euros being switched for bundles of fake notes marked either ‘facsimile’ or ‘Monopoly’.
David Hughes, prosecuting, said that one of the accused, Gianni Accamo, was linked to a fraud carried out in Bristol, where Wales-based jeweller Jack Cohen struck a deal to sell watches and diamonds in a meeting room at the Marriot Hotel.
The jury heard how Mr Cohen just brought watches to Bristol. When a banker’s draft was obviously wrong, Mr Cohen was told he would be paid in euros.
The paper reported that on this occasion Mr Cohen used a testing pen to count bundles of 100 euro notes, which appeared to be real. Having put the euros in a bag, the green light was given for diamonds to be couriered to the buyers.
Mr Hughes said: “Mr Cohen leaves Bristol and goes to Cardiff. He’s got fake euros saying Monopoly, with banding covering the word Monopoly. He immediately calls police. His loss is around £420,000.”
The court heard that Australian jewellery dealer John Calleija, who runs a shop in Old Bond Street, London, was also targeted by the gang. It is accused of using similar methods in an attempt to extract diamonds worth millions of pounds.
Separately, members of the gang are accused of being involved in a scam in which nine luxury watches and a gold chain were stolen.
The case continues.