Brazilian gemstone appraisal scammer fails to show up and testify in defamation trial in Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand – August 23, 2023: A notorious appraisal scammer, Miguel Zenetos of Brazil, failed to appear earlier this month for the pre-trial hearing of a lawsuit he filed in Thonburi Criminal Court, of Bangkok, Thailand, against Jeffery Bergman, a Bangkok-based American gemstone dealer and gemologist.

To support Zenetos’ failure to appear at the August 10 hearing, his attorney presented medical records which claimed Zenetos would not be able to travel for at least one year. The scammer’s request to testify via Zoom was rejected, as was his request to send a representative to testify on his behalf. The Thonburi Criminal Court judge consequently suspended the case, indicating that Zenetos must return to testify in person before June 2032 to re-activate the case.

Meanwhile, following an earlier request, Bergman’s attorneys had received and examined a copy of the complete, original police report of the criminal defamation charges filed by Zenetos. Bergman’s legal team subsequently concluded that Zenetos had presented the Thai Royal Police with highly suspect and erroneous information. One example of false information is his appraisal letterhead (see illustration here) which states he is “Prof. Dr. Miguel Carlos Zenetos.”  However, Zenetos does not even hold a BSc. from any university!

In Thailand, feeding the police false information is a crime that can result in a prison sentence of up to five years per count. Zenetos’ attorneys reportedly warned him that he risked criminal charges being brought against him in Thailand if it came to light that he had submitted erroneous information in his police report and false information in the various evidentiary documents he had submitted to the court.

Illustration 1. Zenetos signed off on this appraisal for HDG, the Holywood Development Group of California, a notorious generator of gemstone appraisals with absurdly high values.

Bergman’s lawyers point out that this is undoubtedly the case. Of the many references listed under “professional experience,” Zenetos listed 14 companies he claimed to have performed analysis, classification,  and appraisals for on diamonds and colored gemstones. None of these 14 references included the name of a contact person, an address, or a telephone number, making these references highly suspect.

One of the “professional experience” references Zenetos listed was Ms. Robin Hansen, Curator of the Minerals and Gemstones at the Natural History Museum of London, the United Kingdom. Responding to an email inquiry about the veracity of Zenetos’ claim, Ms. Hansen wrote: “I am not aware of having a professional relationship with Mr. Zenetos. I am unable to find any correspondence from him in my emails and cannot find him listed on my specimen database.” This incongruity alone could result in criminal charges in Thailand for Zenetos.

Illustration 2. Zenetos' denial that he ever worked for the HDG group.

HDG, the Hollywood Development Group of California owned by Ricardo Campbell, is one of the companies Zenetos listed under “professional experience.” Zenetos contends that he performed appraisals for this notorious generator of gemstone appraisals with absurdly high values. Bergman has obtained copies of four HDG appraisals signed by a Miguel Carlos Zenetos, including a 2.9kg low-grade ruby-in-zoisite valued at $347 million. It has been well established that large ruby-in-zoisite specimens are readily available for $350 per kg or less, making the fair market value for this example under $1,000. (See Illustration 1.)

However, in a notarized DECLARATION OF PRESERVATION OF RIGHTS document, dated March 9, 2021, Zenetos firmly declared: “I can state with 100% certainty that I have not appraised any gemstones, diamonds, or jewelry that carry his [Ricardo Campbell’s] company name. I do not work for the HDG appraisal group, never have, and never will.” This is another contradiction that could result in criminal charges for Zenetos. (See Illustration 2.)

Illustration 3. NAJA's email terminating Zenetos' membership.

Adamantly declaring that everything he ever published about Zenetos was true, Bergman reported, backed up by email evidence, that Zenetos’ application for membership in ICA (the International Colored Gemstone Association) was rejected. Also, GIA (the Gemological Institute of America) will no longer provide him with services, including continuing education. Zenetos was expelled from the IGS (the International Gem Society) and kicked out of the AGA (the Accredited Gemologists Association).

Bergman’s ace-in-the-hole was in an email from NAJA (the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers), which revoked Zenetos’ membership, due to the “preparation of documents which are not to NAJA standards, and more importantly, are fraudulent in their intent.” (See Illustration 3.)

“I am confident that if Zenetos were to testify in person, any judge examining the evidence presented above would conclude that Zenetos indeed created fraudulent appraisals. Therefore, the defamation case against me will certainly be dismissed,” Bergman stated.