A luxury jeweller has been charged after he allegedly orchestrated a daylight robbery at his own business in Sydney’s CBD in an alleged fraud scheme.
Michel Germani, 65, was at the Germani Jewellery store on George Street with another staff member on the evening of January 19 to assist two male customers who had an appointment.
Mr Germani initially told police one of the men allegedly pulled out a knife and threatened his female employee, while the other customer allegedly threatened him and demanded access to the safe, according to NSW Police.
Both staff members were allegedly restrained before the two men fled the store.
Police attended the store and began investigating before referring the matter to the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad under Strike Force Ingestre.
Detectives arrested two men, aged 37 and 57, in April and they remain before the courts.
Mr Germani was arrested at Day Street Police Station on Monday where he was charged with aggravated robbery and depriving a person of liberty, attempting to dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, publish false misleading material to obtain property, and participate in a criminal group contributing to criminal activity.
NSW Police allege the store owner was involved in planning and co-ordinating the robbery in an attempt to defraud an insurance company.
According to court documents, Mr Germani is accused of making a false statement after the robbery and intended to claim insurance worth more than $2.8m.
He did not apply for bail when the matter was mentioned in Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday.
Detective Superintendent Joe Doueihi told media Mr Germani is accused of planning and coordinating the robbery, as well as defrauding the insurance company.
Superintendent Doueihi said Mr Germani allegedly lodged a claim for a “substantial amount of jewellery of a sizeable dollar amount” with his insurer.
He said the female employee was left traumatised by the incident and sustained some injuries.
“The female staff member was not party, or did not have any knowledge of the arrangements that were made by the store owner,” Superintendent Doueihi said.
“She was purely an innocent agent and the victim of what she believed was a robbery.”
Superintendent Doueihi said further arrests are anticipated.
Detectives executed a search warrant at a Canada Bay unit about 8am Tuesday.
Investigations under Strike Force Ingestre is continuing.