A giant diamond — which an Alliance-area businessman tried to sell to undercover FBI agents five years ago — will finally be sold. On-line bidding for the 43.5-carat “Golden Eye” diamond begins on Sept. 6.
A giant diamond, which an Alliance-area businessman tried to sell to undercover FBI agents five years ago, will finally be sold.
The so-called “Golden Eye” diamond measures nearly an inch in length. It checks in at a hefty 43.5 carats. On-line bidding for the rectangular yellow stone, graded internally flawless, begins Sept. 6.
The U.S. Marshals Service Northern District of Ohio set the minimum bid at $900,000; offers then must climb in $110,000 increments.
The diamond’s origin and background remains sketchy.
However, it was acquired by Paul Monea at some point.
A local businessman who made millions in the 1990s, Monea had once marketed gas-grill igniters for pain relief and peddled Tae Bo videotapes for fitness trainer Billy Blanks. Monea’s empire crumbled upon his conviction for federal tax evasion.
After his release from prison, Monea began to offer the diamond as collateral in 2005 in a variety of business deals stretching from New York to Oklahoma.
A year later, Monea and the diamond got caught up in a federal money-laundering investigation. In December of 2006, authorities arrested longtime local auto dealer Mickey Miller and Monea. Miller pleaded guilty to laundering money for drug dealers. He then testified against his friend, Monea, who was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in federal prison.
Monea's role was limited only to his attempt to sell the diamond and boxer Mike Tyson’s former house in Trumbull County for $19.5 million to an undercover FBI agent posing as a big-time drug dealer.
A federal judge had to sort through multiple claims from parties who claimed to own a piece of the diamond, based on deals they’d made with Monea. Ultimately, it was forfeited to the U.S. government.
Bid4Assets, a Silver Spring, Md., online auction company, will sell the diamond. Bidding will take place from Sept. 6-8. Details about the sale and the gem itself, as well as photos, can be viewed at www.Bid4Assets.com/Diamond27
The high-stakes sales process requires interested parties to submit a refundable pre-bid deposit of $180,000 before placing a bid.
When it’s sold, 20 percent of the proceeds will go to the Marshals Service. The remainder will go to a federal asset forfeiture fund. Portions could be divvied to local agencies that assisted in the three-year investigation, such as the Stark County Sheriff's office.