What did Lawrence Gray do? Retired professor pleads not guilty in defraud scheme involving Washington elites

Retired professor Lawrence Gray pleads not guilty in defraud scheme involving Washington elites. (Image via Twitter/@AndyVermaut)
Retired professor Lawrence Gray pleads not guilty in defraud scheme involving Washington elites. (Image via Twitter/@AndyVermaut)

On August 15, 2023, 79-year-old retired political science professor Lawrence Gray pleaded not guilty to stealing thousands of dollars in jewelry from his affluent acquaintances. Gray was also associated with Washington's elite social circles.

Associated Press reported that Lawrence traded at least seven unique and precious stolen items, including:

  • Gold, silver, and diamond pendant brooch,
  • A pair of silver, gold, and diamond pendant earrings,
  • Two-color gold, cabochon ruby, and diamond compact.

Prosecutors claimed that he made over $45,000 selling these items to a Manhattan auction house.

According to a press release by Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Lawrence Gray is charged with one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree, one count of criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree, and one count of grand larceny in the third degree.


Lawrence Gray was released without bail

As per the press release from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, records and statements made publicly indicate that Lawrence Grey was involved in the theft of the seven pieces of jewelry between 2016 and 2018. He afterward sold them through Doyle Auctioneers and Appraisers.

A Doyle Auction House representative declined to comment, citing a corporate rule prohibiting discussing consignors.

Gray pleaded not guilty to stealing charges against him. (Image via X/ @Sylvaners)
Gray pleaded not guilty to stealing charges against him. (Image via X/ @Sylvaners)

Manhattan District Attorney's Office noted that the other stolen items of jewelry include a Verdura platinum, diamond, and sapphire brooch, a pair of Oscar Heyman Brothers sapphire, emerald, and diamond ear clips, Van Cleef & Arpels gold, cabochon ruby and diamond ring and a 19th century English pocket watch.

In the press release, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. said,

"The defendant allegedly repeatedly sold stolen jewelry in order to enrich himself. New York's status as a global hub for auction houses is diminished when goods are illegally sold. We will continue to ensure that all transactions in the marketplace – regardless of item – are done fairly and in accordance with the law."

New York Post reported that the defense attorney mentioned that Lawrence, who was a professor at John Cabot University in Rome and retired in 2011, willingly turned himself into authorities on the morning of August 15, 2023.

As per reports, Gray is accused of stealing and selling precious items for $45K. (Image via X/ @suziesuchi)
As per reports, Gray is accused of stealing and selling precious items for $45K. (Image via X/ @suziesuchi)

Associated Press reported that Lawrence appeared in court and refused to talk to reporters when he departed. He was released without bail after surrendering his passport to the authorities.


Lawrence Gray used his deceased partner's connections for his crimes

Associated Press reported that Lawrence was romantically involved with the late Washington socialite and wine expert Jacqueline Quillen.

Following Jacqueline's death in 2021, her sons filed a case against Lawrence, accusing him of thievery of precious heirlooms, paintings, and cash from both Quillen and her friends, which included American diplomats, bankers, and businessmen.

According to the report by Associated Press, Lawrence was apprehended in Rhode Island for stealing a diamond and sapphire brooch worth $32,000 during a wedding in Newport. The family's lawsuit has settled for confidential terms, and he pleaded not guilty for the Rhode Island case, which is ongoing.

Lawrence Gray is scheduled for his next court appearance on October 31, 2023.

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Edited by Divya Singh