Guilty: Atul Shah, left, and Mahaveer Kankariva, face 15 years in jail for staging the heist as part of a $7million insurance scam described as 'a joke' by the judge.
Atul Shah, pictured, hired the two thugs dressed in Jewish garb to 'rob' the store as part of a $7million insurance fraud
A gun was put to his head, while the 'robbers' stole the loot. They tried to destroy the security cameras, but the video was safely stored on the motherboard
At the end of the three-week trial Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber told the pair: ‘It's clear to me that this was a conspiracy,’ finding them guilty of seven counts of grand larceny, insurance fraud and other crimes.
The business partners who were struggling with huge debts hired the thugs – who have never been found – to ‘rob’ them.
Following the gun-point raid the thugs dressed as Hasidic Jews ‘forced’ Shah and a frightened employee – who was unaware it was a set-up – onto the floor and took the empty boxes in the safe.
The CCTV survived, capturing the moment Shah and his business partner, Mahaveer Kankariya, emptied the safe prior to the robbery which they knew about
But just three hours earlier Shah and Kankariya had been seen removing the jewels from the safe and replacing them with empty boxes.
The robbers poured draining fluid over the cameras in the hope of destroying them, but the motherboard survived intact, managing to capture the incriminating evidence of both the heist and the switch.
It also showed Shah buzzing the two Hasids into the jewellery offices in Manhattan’s Diamond District in Midtown, without asking who they were.
At one point the ‘Jews’ were left alone in the room with the unlocked safe.
Faber said: ‘The rest of the robbery, frankly, looks like a joke.’
The jewellers claimed they thought the Hasidic Jews were 'couriers' despite their clothing and the luggage they were carrying. The thugs were never found