People v. Mahboubian
New York Court of Appeals
543 N.E.2d 34 (1989)
Houshang Mahboubian (defendant) insured his collection of Persian antiquities for $18.5 million. The stated purpose for the insurance was to allow Mahboubian to ship his collection from Switzerland to New York, where the collection would be offered for sale. Nedjatollah Sakhai (defendant) engaged some men experienced in robberies and burglaries of art-storage facilities for “an insurance job.” Unbeknownst to the others, one of the men—Daniel Cardebat—had agreed to act as a police informant. Mahboubian later made arrangements for his collection to be stored at a secure art-packaging and customs warehouse upon its arrival in New York and was given a full tour of the warehouse. Mahboubian then flew to Switzerland to visit his collection and marked his initials in red on all the shipping crates in which his collection was packed; Sakhai had earlier told Cardebat and the others that the shipping crates would be so marked. The crates were shipped to New York and placed in the warehouse. Sakhai met with the thieves, showed them a diagram of the warehouse floor, and indicated where Mahboubian’s crates were being stored. The men managed to gain access to the warehouse, found the crates near the location Sakhai had indicated, and started to remove pieces from their crates, but were caught and arrested by warehouse guards, who had been alerted by Cardebat. Mahboubian and Sakhai were both arrested and later convicted of attempted grand larceny. Mahboubian and Sakhai appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kaye, J.)
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