Manhattan jewelers Atul Shah and Mahaveer Kankariya were desperate to collect a $7 million insurance payout to save their business when they faked a heist at Dialite Imports in 2008, prosecutors said yesterday at the opening of their trial.
“To deal with their financial problems, they tried a desperate gamble,” prosecutor Eugune Hurley said, according to The Associated Press.
The defendants owed six months rent and had $1 million in debt, officials said. Shah, 49, and Kankariya, 44, have pleaded not guilty to insurance fraud and other charges. The most serious charge carries up to 25 years in prison.
Defense lawyers have maintained that the robbery was real.