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Three arrested for defrauding man out of JD200,000 for fake artefacts

By Rana Husseini - Mar 29,2015 - Last updated at Mar 29,2015

AMMAN — Department of Antiquities (DoA) officials on Sunday warned the public of individuals who are defrauding people by attempting to sell them fake artefacts.

“We have had many incidents over the past two years whereby certain individuals use various methods to defraud people and convince them that they have real artefacts when in reality they are fake,” DoA’s Amman Archaeological Department Director Yazid Elayan said.

The DoA official’s remarks came after police announced the arrest of three people in an Amman suburb on Sunday who defrauded a man of JD200,000 after showing him fake artefacts they claimed were authentic.

“Some individuals have become professionals in this field and they use chemicals or bury some pottery and other objects to make it age and appear to be a valuable ancient piece,” Elayan told The Jordan Times.

Several art collectors or individuals seeking to make quick financial gain fall victim to this kind of fraud because “they cannot differentiate between real and fake artefacts as only archaeological experts can tell the difference.”

“We urge people to refrain from buying such objects because the majority of it is fake or illegal to buy,” Jerash DoA Director Ahmad Shami told The Jordan Times.

The Public Security Department (PSD) said in a statement that the three men were arrested after a citizen complained that he gave them JD200,000 as payments for authentic artefacts.

“The suspects convinced the victim that he needs to pay them a lot of cash to buy unique and expensive incense that will help them excavate the ancient articles from the ground using witchcraft,” the PSD statement said.

The suspects escorted the victim to an area and showed him some ancient articles that were buried and informed him “that they did it using the unique incense and he believed them”, according to the statement.

Upon searching one of the suspects’ homes in a northern neighbourhood of Amman, the PSD said, investigators found pottery, statues, coins and some incense.

Police also urged the public to avoid engaging in such activities “because it is illegal to do so, and if people fall victim to such acts most of the times they are unable to report it because it is illegal”.

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