Donald Rubin (l.), Shelley Rubin (c.) and Christopher Marblo (r.) attend a Garrison Institute benefit on Nov. 13, 2015 in New York City.
All that glitters is not gold. Sometimes, it’s plastic.
A couple accused of conning a prominent Manhattan philanthropist into spending millions on fake jewelry is being sued after allegedly pulling the same scam on a financial executive.
Sonia Toledo says Nisha Sabharwal and her husband, Mohit, duped her into spending $1 million on junk jewelry, according to a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The Harvard-educated Toledo says she “had the misfortune” of meeting Sabharwal in 2012. After they became friendly, Sabharwal treated the businesswoman like a member of the family, even inviting her to holiday get-togethers in Florida, court papers allege.
Sabharwal convinced the 54-year-old Toledo that she had “access to spectacular, antique Indian jewels, including one-of-a-kind heirlooms from the personal collection of an Indian princess,” the suit filed last month reads.
“In reality, however, the pieces are just cheap, Indian-styled ‘knock offs’ worth a tiny fraction of the exorbitant prices paid,” according to the suit.
The first con went down on June 28, 2012, when Toledo took Sabharwal’s advice and bought a “ruby” bracelet made by a “monk” for $1,800, the filing says.
“Contrary to Nisha’s representations, this bracelet does not contain a ruby. It is a cheap plastic knock-off worth $129,” the court papers read.
The Tibetan Shrine Room pictured at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan.
(Diane Bondareff/Invision for Rubin Museum of Art)
Sabharwal’s mother, Padma Deogun, was also in on the con, the filing says.
In March, Toledo read reports of art collector Shelley Rubin’s lawsuit against Sabharwal.
Rubin, a well-known philanthropist and founder of the Rubin Museum of Art, alleged Sabharwal tricked her into buying $18 million of junk jewelry.
Sabharwal allegedly told Rubin some of the phony diamonds she’d bought once belonged to an Indian princess.
Toledo said she realized she was a victim of the same scam, her court papers say.
“The manipulative conduct of Nisha, Mohit and Padma was founded upon unspeakable moral indifference and driven by an evil motive,” the papers say. “It was gross, outrageous, utterly reckless, wanton and malicious.”
In 2014 alone, Toledo says she shelled out more than $400,000 — including $150,000 for two necklaces with “antique snakes.” The bogus bling have an actual value of $17,500, according to the suit.
Exterior view of the Rubin Museum at 150 W. 17 St. in Manhattan.
(David Handschuh/New York Daily News)
Toledo said “perhaps the cruelest of all” her actions was when Sabharwal offered to “redesign” some of her jewelry.
“Nisha actually stripped Toledo’s family heirlooms of their valuable jewels, replacing them with fakes or imitation stones,” the filing alleges.
Toledo’s suit seeks damages to be determined.
A message left at the Sabharwals’ E. 49th St. apartment building was not returned.
“We have reviewed the complaint and are disappointed in reading the baseless and frivolous allegations which cannot, and will not, be substantiated in a Court of Law,” the Sabharwals’ attorney, Jaspreet Mayall, wrote.
Toledo’s attorney, David Pohl, declined to comment.