Rare diamond seized from money launderer set for online auction
This flawless diamond, known as the "Golden Eye," is up for a minimum bid of $900,000.
August 11th, 2011
08:50 PM ET

Rare diamond seized from money launderer set for online auction

A rare 43-carat yellow diamond that belonged to a convicted money launderer will be auctioned for a minimum bid of $900,000, the U.S. Marshals Service said Thursday.

The flawless diamond, known as the "Golden Eye," will be sold in an online auction on September 6 by the U.S. Marshal's Service, the Department of Justice said in a statement Thursday. The FBI seized the notable diamond in an undercover investigation that led to Ohio businessman Paul Monea's conviction for money laundering.

Known for his involvement in the Tae Bo workout craze and a failed effort to market electric grill lighters as pain relievers, Monea was convicted in 2007 of conspiring to sell the diamond and a mansion once owned by former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson in exchange for $19.5 million and a boat, according to court documents.

There is no clear evidence of how Monea came to possess the diamond, according to court documents. He allegedly told others involved in the case that he owned a diamond mine in Africa and that he received the diamond from a friend.

The diamond was forfeited to the government by a district court judge in 2007, the Department of Justice said. Legal claims delayed the process until March, when the final forfeiture was ordered and the U.S. Marshals Service acquired it.

The U.S. Marshals Service is responsible for selling seized and forfeited properties acquired by federal criminals through illegal activities, the DOJ said. Proceeds from the auction are used to compensate victims, pay for law enforcement initiatives and support community programs, according to the Department of Justice.

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Filed under: Crime
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. James Bond

    One Shot One Kill

    August 12, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. Nota Fan

    He was convicted of trying to sell the diamond and a mansion. What's illegal about that?

    August 12, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • John in NY

      Yeah, that was my thought exactly.

      August 12, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • JFED

      I'm pretty sure it wasn't HIS mansion he was trying to sell 🙂

      August 12, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • usa401

      Well if they are not his then yes thats illegal.

      August 12, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. DontTrustAnyOfThem

    Sounds like it came right out of the Nazi playbook for aquiring wealthy people's fortunes. Gotta love the US Justice system! Or NOT!

    August 12, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Harvey

    It is going to be interesting to see all of the criticism the buyer will take when the diamond sells. It will be just like all of the flak some billionaire took a couple of months ago when he bought an original tin type of Billy the Kid. People saying he was immoral because he spent 4 mil on the photo when there are people starving in this world.

    I am going to jump the gun on this one. Whoever buys this stone, it is your money to do with as you please. You earned it and it is yours. You don't have to share it with anyone if you don't want to.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
    • AustinITGuy

      wouldn't that be great if ALL millionaires actually DID have to earn all their money.

      August 12, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. RaKa

    I wonder if it was because it was Mike Tyson's mansion that made it illegal. Great reporting. I had no idea that selling something of Mike's would get me convicted of money laundering. Whew. I dodged a bullet there.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. SriV

    Whats illegal about selling a house or a matter of fact a big stone. Nice judiciary system.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      You wouldn't think there might be more to this story than the crummy reporting of CNN?

      August 12, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. Common Sense

    What is the clarity?For $900,000 opening bid it better be VVS1-IF

    August 12, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • response

      it's a flawless yellow diamond..

      August 12, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Liz

    I"m sorry, yellow diamonds look like something Baer Grills would love, a peecicle.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. hecep

    Calm down, people. The issue with the diamond and the mansion has to do with the money (and boat) they were to be exchanged for: laundered, and from illegal drug sales. According to FBI tapes, Monea knew where that money (and the boat, which had been acquired using laundered drug money) were coming from. Drug dealers. Yes. I agree that the article was poorly written.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. Pat

    Loved it on Nintendo 64...

    August 12, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. People

    No we will not calm down! Rabble rabble.. We are all legal experts and not slimy gossipy trolls..

    August 12, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rob

    I wonder if the FEDs will arrest the buyer for conspiring to buy the diamond?

    August 12, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. About diamonds by Philip

    When NAZI's were combing Africa for proof that their ancestors ruled the world, they stumbled upon a field covered in diamonds. The local natives had raked the diamonds into big piles to make-way for their crops. The NAZI's then enslaved the locals, and a diamond mine was born. After the war was over, these NAZI's formed a cartel with some wealthy industrialists and named their operation 'The North-American Mining Corporation' in order to hide the operation from war-crimes tribunals. Eventually, the name was changed to DeBeers, and diamonds became a girls best friend.

    August 12, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. gowngup

    and why won't that money go to the deficit?

    August 12, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. Baron Samedi

    WAAAPSHHHH!!!
    ^^Real secret agents use slappers only, no handicap to aquire the golden eye...

    August 12, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
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