All About Silver - ... the buck stops here ...
Republic Metals Corporation (RMC) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy - $90M gone, significant inventory discrepancy
Rust Rare Coin accused of $170M Ponzi scheme

Bullion Bankruptcy, Fraud, Government Actions, etc.

Here we have put together a list of bankruptcies, government actions, cease-and-desists, frauds, scams, etc. by bullion dealers.

There are plenty of legitimate dealers out there, and plenty of warning signs of bad dealers. The companies listed here are ones that have filed for bankruptcy, had lawsuits filed against them, other regulatory action or the like. They may not meet the legal definition of 'fraud', but in most cases most customers would feel they were defrauded (with a few hopefully obvious exceptions). If the company is still in business, it may well be legitimate (just be sure to be aware of any actions taken against them before doing business with them). Use your common sense; for example, sending $1,000 for metal to be shipped within a week from a company with few BBB complaints is much safer than sending $10,000 to a company for $40,000 of metal that they claim to store for you.

Note that many statements are alleged, typically in court documents, so all statements here should be taken as alleged. Also, the law is very complex, and it can be very difficult at times to find out the reality of situations (e.g. if someone sentenced does end up in jail, if a conviction is overturned, etc.).

Part of the goal of this page is to show the widespread nature of issues with the unregulated bullion business, as well as to put together a database of names (as many are repeat offenders, or related to offenders). We may also put together 'dossiers' (for a nominal fee) with detailed information about companies.

This page was first put online in 2014, but was updated on May 6, 2016, adding 52 entries, increasing the total to 132 entries.

NEW! BullionDealerData.com - a website with in-depth data and investigation of existing bullion dealers, unlike any other site out there. Quickly and easily compare dealers at a glance.

Company NameLinkDateOwner(s)$ LostSummary
20/20 Trading Company, Inc.
(Laguna Niguel, CA)
20/20 Precious Metals, Inc.
Lions Wealth Holdings, Inc.
Lions Wealth Services, Inc.
Lions Wealth Capital
26 Apr 2011
(CFTC Complaint)
Bharat “Brad” Adatia (Principal)
Sharief “Sharice” D. McDowell (Principal)
Todd Krejci (Salesperson)
$4M+Used Hunter Wise. They started selling commodities options, then selling leveraged metal. 63% of money went to commissions. Half of customers used IRA funds. The court froze their assets.
AGT American Silver and Gold
a/k/a American Silver & Gold, LLC
(Austin, TX)

08 Mar 2012
Rick Maestre
a/k/a Richard Maestre
a/k/a David Winston
a/k/a Julio Mendez
Lora Maestre
Rachel Perez
Scott Raychel
UnknownApparently had issues when the silver price plummeted in 2011, and was unable to deliver orders in a timely fashion (using new orders to pay for old ones). The Texas Attorney General filed an injunction and froze their assets in 2012. No longer in business.
(Portland, OR)
18 Apr 2014
(Blue Moon Cease & Desist)
Rodney Scott (President)
Vicki Scott
n/aA well known precious metals dealer. Has a branch at 701 Main St., Vancouver, WA, which was named in a cease and desist order by the State of Washington Department of Financial Institutions, after the collapse of Blue Moon Coins. Blue Moon Coins was owned by Aaron Scott, Rodney's son, who worked at AJPM for many years.
Advantage Metals, LLC
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Advantage Metal Advisors, LLC
Advantage Metals Holding, LLC
06 Jun 2011
Laurence Daniel Sack (President)
Steven A. Strickland
Samantha Krager, Margaret Adams
UnknownApparently filed for bankruptcy on or before 06 Jun 2011. The company's attorney suggested that fraud was involved.
African Trading Partners LLC
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
(Marina Del Rey, CA)

UnknownWilliam C. Conway, Jr.
(Bill Conway)
Peter Blau
UnknownWas listed in AmeriFirst Management, LLC complaint, as entering into a sham transaction.
AmeriFirst Management, LLC
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Was: AmeriFirst Trading Corporation
30 Jul 2013
(CFTC injunction)
John P. D’Onofrio (Owner)
George E. Sarafianos (Owner)
Scott D. Piccininni (Owner)
Lisa Piccininni
$9.7MClaimed to be a precious metals wholesaler and clearing firm. Had about 30 dealers, whose customers would put down about 20%. Accused of not buying the metal or making loans.
American Bullion Exchange ABEX Corp
(Irvine, CA)
American Bullion Exchange LLC,
08 Dec 2010
(CFTC complaint)
Ryan A. Nassbridges (President/CEO)
a/k/a Ryan Nasserabadi
$5.5M+Advertised on TV, and employees required to make a minimum of 350 'prospecting calls' per day. Investors were told funds were only for bullion and coins, in segregated accounts, insured, with a stop-loss to protect them. Instead, they bought futures and options. Accused of misappropriating $1.4M in funds for their benefit, akin to a Ponzi scheme.
American Capital Partners (Ghana) Limited Inc.
(Palm Beach, FL)

UnknownFrank Speight (principal)UnknownWas listed in AmeriFirst Management, LLC complaint, as entering into a sham transaction. Speight had previously been sued twice for fraud.
American Gold Alliance, Inc.
05 Oct 1983
Sanford Greenwald (Owner)
Helga Sorger (Owner)
David P. Vanderpol (Owner)
UnknownRun by a former International Gold and Bullion Exchange employee. Offered a financing plan through Capital Bank of Miami, who would finance and store the metal.
American Independent Gold & Silver Exchange
(Robbinsdale, MN)

10 Aug 2012
(Consent Decree)
Jamie Smith
a/k/a Jamie Lee Smith
Robert Gundy
a/k/a Robert Earl Gundy
Jay Flynn
a/k/a Jay Phillip Flynn
UnknownJamie Lee Smith is Jay Flynn's cousin. Flynn worked at Crescent Equities with Gundy. A Consent Judgment was entered in a civil fraud action that the MN Attorney General entered against Crescent Equities, including Jamie Lee Smith, resulting in a $125,000 civil penalty. Jay Flynn sentenced to 52 months in prison (18218-041, Oxford FCI, release date 18 Jul 2018).
American Portfolio Asset Management, Inc.
(Boca Raton, FL)
29 Sep 2015
(CFTC Complaint)
Alan M. Kneller (Owner)$478K+Affiliate of Worth Group. Typical of Worth Group dealers, they took about 20% down for margin contracts, never delivering metals, or having the metal backing it.
American Precious Metals, LLC
APM Sales and Marketing
(Deerfield Beach, FL)
10 May 2011
(CFTC complaint)
Harry Robert Tanner, Jr. (Manager)
Sammy J. Goldman (management)
$23,834,108Charged with fraud by the CFTC. Charged commissions of about 40% of the initial investment for financed, stored metal.
Argent Group, Ltd.
First State Depository, LLC
New Direction IRA, Inc.
16 Mar 2016
(Complaint Filed)
Robert Higgins (CEO)UnknownThree individuals and a company sued them, stating that the individuals bought silver, leased it to Argent Group for 1 year. They asked for their metal back in August, 2015, but as of early March, 2016 did not get the metal.
Atlantic Bullion & Coin, Inc.
(Easley, SC)
15 Mar 2012
Records seized
Ronnie Gene Wilson
(sole owner, 64YO in 2012)
$70MMedia reports say it appeared to be a $70M Ponzi scheme. The owner was sentenced to 19.5 years in prison.
Auburn Precious Metals
(Auburn, WA)

(Police raid)
Ross B. Hansen (Owner)
a/k/a Bernard Ross Hansen
UnknownThe business was raided in 1989, as part of the largest drug bust in the county at the time. The owner was accused of knowingly laundering up to $1M in drug money, by taking cash payments and structuring them into non-reportable <$10K money orders. Some metal seized during the raid reportedly belonged to customers, who did not get it back.
Barclay Metals, Inc.
(West Palm Beach, FL)
Universal Clearing, LLC
(West Palm Beach, FL)
28 Jan 2013
(CFTC Order)
Sean Stropp (Owner)
Sylvia Williams (Owner)
UnknownUsed Hunter Wise. Sold financed metal to be stored.
Bentley Metals, LLC
(Hoboken, NJ)
Sep 2012
(ceased operations)
Louis J. Ferone (Owner)$55K+Telemarketers solicited orders for metal on margin, using Worth Group. Ferone was suspended from NYMEX trading floor in 1996, and permanently banned from NYMEX in 2000 in connection with a trading scheme.
Blackstone Metals Group, LLC
05 Feb 2014
(CFTC Order)
Baris Keser (Owner)$600K+Apparently an intermediary between Hunter Wise and dealers. Had very little capital and few assets.
Blue Moon Coins
(Vancouver, WA)
Affordable Precious Metals
(Vancouver, WA)
Liquid Assets Empire
(Vancouver, WA)
BMC Worldwide, Inc.
(Vancouver, WA)
04 Mar 2014
Aaron Scott (President)
Jamaal Brown (Employee)
$580,000+They sell physical metal. Complaints were filed that Blue Moon Coins was taking over 28 days to ship. Several government investigations were opened. Some funds were reportedly diverted to Affordable Precious Metals (owned by Rodney Scott), a branch of AJPM.
Brent Fields, Daniels & Martin, Ltd
a/k/a United States Bullion
(Atlanta, GA)
Unknown~1975UnknownAccused by the SEC of offering 6,000 ounces of gold for sale when they in fact only had 200 ounces.
Bullion Direct
(Austin, TX)
1999Charles McAllister (co-owner)
Jason Otteson (was CEO)
Randy Russell (consultant)
$24.2MStarted in 1999. Offered a platform for customers to buy from individual sellers. Was unprofitable from the beginning, and used metal stored for customers to finance its losses and some ambitious investments (they considered purchasing a gold mine for $16M, with $4M down). The owner consulted a bankruptcy attorney on October 17, 2012, saying that the company had suffered very large losses. Finally shut down in June, 2015, with the owner paying himself a severance package above and beyond his $250K salary. Multiple agencies are investigating.
Bullion Reserve of North America
(Los Angeles, CA)

03 Oct 1983
Ch. 11 bk
Alan Margolis
a/k/a Alan David Saxon
$60M?Claimed to store metal, but allegedly did not. Estimated $60M in losses. The chairman committed suicide, which led to an audit, which led to bankruptcy.
C.D. Hopkins Financial, LLC
C.D. Hopkins Metals Division
Hard Asset Lending Group, LLC
05 Dec 2012
(CFTC injunction)
Chadewick Hopkins (Owner)$2.4M+Involved with Hunter Wise as a dealer. Had very little capital and few assets. Reportedly a $2,406,731 loss (98% of customers lost money). CFTC preliminary injunction on 05 Dec 2012.
Capital Coin
Visionary Rare Coins
Numismatic Professionals
Rare Coin Alliance
Karl D. Hirtzinger, LLC
(Toledo, OH)

???Tom Noe
a/k/a Thomas W. Noe
$50MSent to prison (26157-018, released 27 Oct 2008, now apparently in state prison) over a $50M 'CoinGate' scandal.
Christopher Smithers
(Jupiter, FL)
23 Oct 2012
(CFTC fraud chages)
Christopher Smithers$220K+Was sanctioned by court for commodity options fraud in 2002, and ordered to pay $299,129.90 in restitution. Against sanctioned in 2006 (with his father and business Prosperity Consultants, Inc.) for commdities futures fraud ($206,046.61). In one example, took $180K to buy gold, but the money was used for personal commodities trading, personal expenses, etc.
Churchhill Commodities Trading, LLC
(Irvine, CA)
Bertram Trade, LLC
(Dana Point, CA)
28 Apr 2015
(CFTC Order)
Christopher Valois Cynthia Wong$737K+Offered leveraged precious metals investments to retail customers. Most of the money went to expenses. In August, 2010, Valois was permanently barred from the NFA.
Coin & Stamp Gallery, Inc.

06 Mar 1984
Harold B. Kail$500K+Kail was convicted on 15 counts of mail fraud and sentenced to 7 years in prison. It seems the issue was that he had extremely high mark-ups (in one case he agreed to sell coins for no more than $1,950, but offered them for $12,000), yet claimed these were valuable investments. He used to work as a broker at a bullion dealer that is still in existence, and recruited some of his co-workers from there. In May, 1985 he was sentenced to 51 years.
Coinabul (La Jolla, CA)PDF
n/aJay Shore (CEO)$5M+Sells metal in exchange for Bitcoins. A class action lawsuit says they 'stopped shipping orders completely in or around June 2013, had no metal in their inventory, and had no intention of fulfilling customer orders.'
Cornerstone Capital ManagementPDF
29 Nov 2012
Laura Jean Kent (Owner)
a/k/a Laura Kent
UnknownManages $26M for almost 200 clients. Got a cease-and-desist order from Washington (31 Oct 2000), a cease-and-desist from the SEC (16 Sep 2008), and a desist-and-refrain from California (29 Nov 2012). Was accused of investing in illegal products.
Crescent Equities
(Minneapolis, MN)

10 Aug 2012
(Consent Decree)
Robert Gundy (Owner)
a/k/a Robert Earl Gundy
UnknownClosed after the MN AG's office served it with a demand for information. Sentenced to 41 months in prison (18206-041, Elkton FCI, release date 07 Nov 2018).
Cypress Wealth Management Group, Inc.
(Pompano Beach, FL)
26 May 2016 (CFTC order)Ted L. Romeo (Co-Owner)
Richard D. Schrutt (Co-Owner)
UnknownAccused by the CFTC of selling leveraged metals contracts through AmeriFirst Management, LLC.
Delaware Depository Services
(Wilmington, DE)
Oct 2011(none listed)UnknownThe depository sent Position Reconciliation and Transfer Notices to customers of Hunter Wise. The CFTC stated that sending the notices was a violation of Section 4(a) of the Commodity Exchange Act. The company terminated its agreement with Hunter Wise after being contacted by the CFTC.
Discount Gold Brokers, Inc.
(Sherman Oaks, CA)
(Encino, CA)
15 Apr 2013
M. Berman (Owner)
(dob 5/10/60)
Donald Lee Dayer (President)
a/k/a Lee Dayer
Katherina Dayer (President)
$1.75M+Reported to have a pattern of delaying delivery of coins beyond 28 days. Berman was sentenced to over 4 years in prison, and to pay $2.39M in restitution. The FTC also filed a complaint for injunctive relief. Note that this is a different person from the coin designer!
Double Eagle Enterprises, LLC
Double Eagle Metals
(Charlevoix, MI)
14 May 2015
(CFTC order)
Eric Arlt (Majority Owner)$611KAffiliate of Hunter Wise. Typical of Hunter Wise dealers, they took about 20%-25% down for margin contracts, never delivering metal, or having the metal backing it.
Edward Joseph
24 Feb 1876 (bankruptcy)Edward JosephUnknownBullion dealer Edward Joseph (also a jeweller and general merchant) filed for bankruptcy on 24 Feb 1866. Few details are known from this very, very old bankruptcy.
Elite Management Holdings Corp.
MJM Enterprises LLC
29 Jan 2014
(CFTC Order)
Jonathon W. Arrington (Owner)
Michael B. Kratville (Owner)
Michael J. Welke (Owner)
$4.7MTook money for commidity pools, claiming no more than 10% of the money was invested at any time. Claimed to use TradeStation Securities and R.J. O'Brien, but did not have accounts there. They claimed to have a proprietary system generating 6% returns every month, but in fact sent the money to another company to invest.
Empire Sterling Metals Corp.
I.P.M. Investments, Inc.
(Coral Springs, FL)
17 Apr 2014
(CFTC order)
Derek Jason Bridges (Owner)
a/k/a Derek Bridges
UnknownUsed Hunter Wise. Claimed to sell financed metal for storage, putting 20% down. Received over $250,000 in commissions.
First Bristol Group, Inc.
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Alliance Equity Group, Inc.
Great Minister Group, Inc.
Centurion Financial Group, LLC
02 Jul 2003
(CFTC action)
Bernard Justin Sevilla
Staci Lee Petok
Jack Martin Pomeroy
Michael Desmond Biggs
Claimed people would realize extraordinary profits with little or no risk, buying commodities futures. Allegedly did not purchase any, and sent fake statements.
First International Metals, Inc.
(Boca Raton, FL)

05 Oct 1983
Larry Schwartz (President)
Kenneth Kaye (VP)
$200K+Run by a former International Gold and Bullion Exchange employee, who ended up in jail. Offered a financing plan through Capital Bank of Miami, who would finance and store the metal.
First State Depository Company, LLC (FSD)
Certified Assets Management, Inc. (CAMI)
???Robert Higgins (Owner)
Donald Ketterling (VP of CAMI)
$8.95MIsrael Discount Bank (IDB) sued First State Depository for releasing its collateral (for a loan via Republic National Business Credit, LLC to CAMI, which is owned by the same person as FSD), including 12,000 error coins ("Missing Edge Lettering") that appears to be ones that had been stolen from the U.S. Mint. Republic also loaned $5.7M to National Gold Exchange (NGE), which filed for bankruptcy in 2009. In the NGE bankruptcy, FSD released coins (IDB's collateral) to NGE, which ended up being seized. In 2011, FSD released the collateral without consent. The judge referred to Higgins as an 'unscrupulous businessman' and called this a 'three-card monte scheme'.
Gainesville Coins
(Lutz, FL)

n/aNamesn/aThis company was started in 2006, by the sons of Alan Yaffe, one of the owners of the National Gold Exchange, which had serious issues. Gainesville coins used to operate out of the same location as NGE, and reportedly had assets co-mingled with NGE. Reportedly did over $300M annual sales by mid-2012.
Global Bullion Exchange
(Lake Worth, FL)
The Barclay Group, Inc.
(West Palm Beach, FL)
The Bullion Group, Inc.
(West Palm Beach, FL)
14 Dec 2009
Jamie B. Campany (principal)
Brian Ekasala
Frank Gaudino
Bancroft Wright
John Adam King II
Vincent Leardi
Jeff Duentz
$29.5MCold-called people, who bought on margin and had the metal stored. 77% of money in the first year went to commissions. $29.5M in losses. Campany was sent to prison (96908-004, Montgomery FPC, release date 15 Mar 2018).
Global Bullion Trading Group, Inc.
(Miami, FL)
WJS Funding Inc.
d/b/a Capital Asset Management
Certified, Inc.
d/b/a Certified Clearing

Oct 2009
Arthur John Schlecht (Owner)
Frederick Bart Gomer (accountant)
Carlos Rodriguez, Jr. (broker)
Ricardo Jorge Padron (broker)
Robert Roca
$25M+Took money to buy leveraged metals and store bullion. Did not actually buy the metal. Filed for bankruptcy around 2009.
Global Precious Metals Trading Company, LLC
(Coral Gables, FL)
Aug 2012
(shut down)
Michael Ghaemi (Founder)$735,000Took orders for purchasing financed physical metals, stored. Accused of misappopriating nearly all the money, and not buying any metal or loaning any money.
Gold Coast Bullion, Inc.
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
26 Jan 2015
(CFTC Complaint))
Anthony Lauria (President)$9.6MAccused by the CFTC of selling leveraged metals contracts through AmeriFirst Management, LLC.
Gold Distributors, Inc.
(Hallandale Beach, FL)
19 Mar 2014
(CFTC Complaint)
Jordan Cain (Owner)UnknownSold financed metal with 25% down. Financed through AmeriFirst. Complaint says customers never owned any metal, and all customers lost money.
Golden State Bullion
C.O.M. Consultants, Inc.
(Marina Del Ray, CA)

(CFTC Complaint)
Richard David Otto (President)
a/k/a David Richards
Fred Ronald Williams (Telemarketer)
a/k/a John Woods, Woody
Linton Samaru (Telemarketer)
a/k/a Stephen Bradshaw
Bruce Michael Paine (Telemarketer)
$14MClaimed enormous profits and minimal risks, offered leveraged contracts with 20%-25% down using International Bullion Services, Inc. and Amitex Investment Services, Ltd. According tot he CFTC, only a small percentage of the money sent actually went to the contracts.
Goldline International, Inc.
(Santa Monica, CA)
22 Feb 2012
Brian Crumbaker (CEO)$4.5M+Has well-known celebrity endorsers. Accused among other things of training salespeople to use fear tactics to switch people from bullion to overpriced coins. Was ordered to refund over $4.5M to customers. Had over 250 employees and sales of over $500M around 2009. The average markup was 90% over melt. An injunction places severe restrictions on them (e.g. in many cases stating how much gold has to go up for them to break even).
Great American Mint
(Anaheim, CA)
03 Nov 2016
Ulrich Blankenstein (President)
Philip Dodge
Theodora Hart (CEO)
Daniel Geiger (Director)
~$6MGreat American Mint produced silver products, sold by many bullion dealers. The largest creditors appear to be people that loaned the company, and business customers.
Guardian Asset Group, LLC
(West Palm Beach, FL)
30 Sep 2015
(CFTC Complaint)
Andrew Kurzbad (Owner)$1.7M+Affiliate of Amerifirst. Typical of their dealers, they took a percentage down for margin contracts, never delivering metal, or having the metal backing it.
Guardian Gold & Silver Exchange, LLC
(Plymouth, MN)
Wealth Preservation Society, LLC
04 Jan 2013
(state action)
Ray Hanisco (Owner)
(a/k/a Raymond Hanisco)
(a/k/a Raymond F. Hanisco)
Schaun Waste (COO)
(a/k/a Schaun K. Waste)
UnknownAllegedly did not pay people for their coins, and did not fulfill orders after being paid. Accused of having telemarketers that targeted the elderly. Was sued by the State of Minnesota on January 4, 2013, after Hanisco filed for bankruptcy in October, 2012. Hanisco's bankruptcy showed over $1.7M owed. The Star Tribune states that Waste is a recovering alcoholic. Hanisco died in 2014.
Harvard Assets, LLC
London Assets, Inc.
Harvard International Trading, Inc.
(Deerfield Beach, FL)
July, 2011Todd Owen Marshall (President)UnknownAccused by the CFTC of selling illegal margined bullion contracts. Used Worth Group.
Hedrick Consulting Inc.
(Lexington, NC)
22 Oct 2013
Rondell Scott Hedrick
(48YO in 2013)
a/k/a Rondell Hedrick
UnknownThe North Carolina Securities Division received a complaint in October 2012, issued a cease-and-desist in November 2012. He was apparently still scamming people in December, 2012, and arrested on 22 Oct 2013, charged with securities fraud and more. He reportedly claimed he was buying gold bars in Dubai.
Hunter Wise Commodities, LLC
a/k/a Hunter Wise Services, LLC
a/k/a Hunter Wise Trading, LLC
a/k/a Hunter Wise Credit, LLC
(Las Vegas, NV)
05 Dec 2012
(CFTC action)
Harold Edward Martin (Owner)
Fred Jager (Owner)
Jay Bruce Grossman (Attorney)
$52M+Accused of running a 'casino', where they received customers from over 110 dealers, who bought stored metal on margin. They stated their customers owned the metal, but were accused of not actually buying the metal. Martin had a previous FTC Consent Decree in 1994. Would generate margin calls if equity below 15%, and sell the position at below 9%. Up to 38% of the initial payments were paid out as commissions.
IBS Inc. (NC)
IMC Trading, Inc. (NC)
Joe Miller Company (CA)
Mazuma Trading Group, Inc. (FL)
Pinpoint Marketing, Ltd. (FL)
20 Jun 2000
CFTC Preliminary Injunction
Alan Stein
Joseph Finateri
Michael Temple
$18MClaimed to sell futures contracts, apparently using highly deceptive and misleading representations, resulting in about $18M in losses.
Inter-Global Currency & Precious Metals, LLC
(Delray Beach, FL)
May 2013Stavros Papastavrou (Owner)$1M+The CFTC accused them of engaging in illegal margined bullion transactions. Used Hunter Wise and Lloyds Commodities.
International Funding Association (Phoenix, AZ)
Cambridge Global Group (Bahamas)
Global Management Group (Phoenix, AZ)
18 Sep 2003
CFTC complaint filed
Ronald Steven Holt
$14.4MAllegedly made false statements of profit potential and diverting and misappropriating funds. $14.4M in losses from 2,500 customers.
International Gold Bullion Exchange
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
April, 1983William Alderdice (38 in 1983)
James Alderdice (26 in 1983)
$75MClaimed to store metal, but allegedly did not. Estimated $75M in losses. One owner was jailed for 5 years and became a preacher, the other was murdered while out on bail by a man he met in prison.
International Monetary Metals, Inc.
International Bullion Trading Group, Inc.
(Hollywood, Florida)
Mar 2013Martin Sommers (President)$6M+Affiliate of Worth Group. Typical of Worth Group dealers, they took about 20% down for margin contracts, never delivering metals, or having the metal backing it.
International Rarities Corp.
(Minneapolis, MN)
a/k/a International Rarities Corp.
a/k/a International Rarities Holdings
21 Feb 2013
Harlan Rosenfeld (Founder)
David L. Marion (Owner)
a/k/a David Laurence Marion
$3MNot to be confused with a legitimate company with a similar name. Reported to have had over 2 dozen workers with criminal records. Rosenfeld died of a drug overdose in the early 2000s. Marion was accused of selling people shares of the company, but really sold them shares of a worthless shell company. Of $1M received, $197,419 went to gambling. Also accused of taking money for orders and not sending them. On 29 Aug 2013, Marion was sentenced to 5 years in prison (16720-041, Duluth FPC, release date 01 Mar 2017).
International Strategic Assets, Inc.
a/k/a Strategic Futures and Options Inc.
a/k/a Investment Strategies Inc.
a/k/a International Strategic Asset Management, Inc.,

19 Aug 2011
Ron Wolfbauer
a/k/a Ronald Gary Wolfbauer, Jr.
$1.76MMr. Wolfbauer bought the company in 2000 for $175,000. Sentenced to 2 years in prison (12325-041, released on 11 Jan 2008) in 2006, ordered to pay $1.76M in restitution. In 2008, for about 6 months he worked at a well-known gold dealer.
JDC United Metals Inc.
(Pompano Beach)

Mar 2011
Danny Reynolds (CEO), John A. Cavallo (President)UnknownThe company's assets were frozen after a 70 year old retiree filed a lawsuit, accusing the company of defrauding him of more than $627,500.
Joseph Glenn Commodities, LLC
(Boca Raton, FL)
(Boca Raton, FL)
27 Mar 2013
(CFTC Order)
Scott Newcom (Owner)
Anthony Pulieri (Owner)
$1M+Used Hunter Wise. Sold financed metal to be stored. Agreed to pay back over $1M to customers.
K.B. Concepts Group, LLC
(a/k/a Apex Asset Advisors, LLC)
30 May 2017 (CFTC order)Kelvin Burgos (President)UnknownThe CFTC accused them of engaging in illegal margined bullion transactions. Used Hunter Wise.
Kastle & Hawke Inc.
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Nov 2010James A. Ward (President)
Nathaniel R. Walker (President)
$319K+Offered metal on margin, charging a 10%-15% one-time fee for 5 years of trading (like The Bullion Trading Group). Accused by CFTC of never buying the metal, never making the loans, and of making false account statements. Assets were frozen. Both Ward and Walker were involved in a company expelled from the NFA. Those asking for metal would apparently be told stories about rogue traders, price manipulation, markets closed for holidays, 'force majeure', etc.
Keith Bybee Enterprises (ID)PDF
27 Feb 1987
Keith D. Bybee, Sr.
Eleonore J. Bybee
$1M+Claimed to store metal bought on leverage, but allegedly did not.
Kitco Metals, Inc.
(Quebec, Canada)
08 Jun 2011
(like ch.11)
Bart Kitner$2.9M+Filed for bankruptcy (CCAA) in June, 2011, after dozens of tax agents raided the company, claiming $0 in assets and $408,359,422 in liabilities. Appears to be running normally, but we have seen no evidence that the Kitco Pool is still 100% backed by metal.
Leland National Gold Exchange, Inc.
(Los Angeles, CA)
28 Aug 2012
Douglas Mears (President)
Stephen Thompson (Founder)
Paul Lewakowski (Sales Manager)
Katrina Palandri (Administrative Officer)
UnknownThis Nevada corporation had 8 employees. It leveraged positions 2x to 4x. People were apparently told the commission was on the cash investment, but it was actually on the much high leveraged amounts. They said there was almost no risk of losing their principal investment. Lewakowki was convicted of a felony in 2010 in Louisiana (misapplication of contractor funds).
Lloyds Commodities, LLC
Lloyds Commodities Credit Company, LLC
Lloyds Services, LLC

05 Feb 2014
(CFTC Order)
James Burbage
Frank Gaudino
Sylvia Williams (2nd Owner)
Sean Stropp (2nd Owner)
UnknownIntermediary between Hunter Wise and numerous dealers. Was the most significant aggregator for Hunter Wise, with nearly $15M funnelled between July 2011 and March 31, 2012. Ordered to pay over $5M.
London Metals Market LLC
(Parkland, FL)
04 Sep 2014
CFTC Order
Isaac Grossman (Owner)
(39 in 2013)
$121,665.75Another Hunter Wise dealer, with telemarketers typically taking 25% down for stored metal bought on margin. No metal was actually bought.
Madison Precious Metals
(Midlothian, VA)

18 Jan 2012
James F. Price
(61 in 2012)
a/k/a Jim Price
$6.1MAccused of selling over $6.1M of precious metals, but used the money for his own use. Was indicted on four counts of mail fraud by a grand jury. He was sentenced to 51 months in prison.
Mark Olsen Mining Company
(Boca Raton, FL)
Sep 2015 (dissolved)Betty Lea Grimes (Owner)
Betty Grimes, a/k/a Lea Grimes
a/k/a Lea Lauren
a/k/a Betty Nehme
a/k/a Lea Nehme
UnknownAccused of engaging in illegal, off-exchange precious metals transactions, never delivering metal to some customers, and mis-using customer funds. Ms. Grimes reportedly met someone claiming to be Mark Olsen on an online dating site, and became romantically involved -- apparently, he scammed her, and she scammed her customers. They are accused of not buying the metals they claimed they would buy for customers.
Market Masters, Inc.
(Los Angeles, CA)

16 Jun 2014
Charles Rothermel (President)
John Reese
UnknownClients were guaranteed a refund after 6 months, if no gross profit. However, they were not given refunds. Were selling futures contracts, and the California Department of Business Oversight issued a desist-and-refrain.
Martin Klevens
1997Martin Klevens
a/k/a Martin Scott Klevens
a/k/a Party Marty
UnknownDefrauded at least 4 coin buyers out of over $160,000. Then sent to a halfway house for violating terms of his release in 1999, then in 2000 sent back to prison for 10 months. Sentenced in 1997 to 25 months in prison (07609-041, released on 24 Oct 2000).
Maverick International, Inc.
(Palm Coast, FL)
30 Mar 2015
(CFTC Complaint)
Wesley Allen Brown
Edward Rubin (Sole Officer)
$2M+The CFTC says that they took money for a pool trading commodities futures and precious metals. They had an account at Bullion Direct. They claimed to have lost money in the PFG bankruptcy, but had actually already lost the money.
Merit Financial
(Santa Monica, CA)
a/k/a Merit Gold and Silver
a/k/a Seacoast Coin, Inc.
a/k/a Pure Gold
06 Aug 2014
(Out of Business)
Peter M. Epstein (Owner)
Michael J. Getlin (Owner)
UnknownThis company frequently advertised gold at 1% over their cost, but they bought much from a subsidiary of theirs. They got into trouble a number of times due to their sales tactics (e.g. accused of a 'massive bait and switch' scam), and appear to have been shut down by the Santa Monica City Attorney's Office. Did over $1B of sales from 2010 to 2013.
Midwest Metals Excahnge
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Sep 2014Brian S. Ekasala
a/k/a Brian Ekasala
a/k/a Brian Steven Ekasala
$322KAffiliate of Hunter Wise. Typical of Hunter Wise dealers, they took about 20%-25% down for margin contracts, never delivering metal, or having the metal backing it.
MintLine, Inc.
(Coconut Creek, FL)
Was: Alliance Precious Metals, Inc.
13 May 2014
(CFTC emergency Order)
Cindy Vandivier
(a/k/a Cindy Vandiveer)
Paul Vandivier
(a/k/a Paul Vandiveer)
$1MPurported to sell financed physical metals, but complaint alleges they did not purchase or store any physical metals. Run by husband and wife. Paul previously convicted of organized fraud.
(Delray Beach, FL)
14 Jul 2011Stuart Rubin (CEO)
Richard Q. Zimmerman (President)
UnknownAccused by the CFTC of engaging in illegal, off-exchange precious metals transactions and defrauding customers. Accused of charging commissions and fees totaling as much as 37.5% of the customers' investment. They offered leveraged 2.5:1 contracts. Used Worth Group Inc. Both Rubin and Zimmerman had previously been sanctioned by the NFA.
(Plainfield, NJ)
(Phoenix, AZ)

08 Sep 2014Songo Jones
a/k/a Albert Jones
UnknownAt least one report of someone paying for a monster box and not getting it. Authorize.net cannot verify the site. Address is an apartment building. Policies has missing 'opt-out' information. No 'about' page. No known corporation filings. Claims to be a PNG member, but no evidence of such.
Mulligan Mint
(Dallas, TX)
a/k/a AOCS Mint
a/k/a Coins for the Cause
a/k/a Silver Bullet Silver Shield
a/k/a Agorist Metals
a/k/a TSP Mint
a/k/a Sovereign Economics
13 Sep 2013
Rob Gray
David Gray
Eddie Allen
~$2MDid $3M business starting April, 2012, and around $12M in 2013. Robert Gray took out $300,000/year. A number of the claims are smaller (under $1,000), with the largest claims from companies and an ex-employee. There are also a number of customers that claim 1,000-2,000oz or so of silver.
My Global Leverage, LLC
(Las Vegas, Nevada)
Nov 2012Toney Blondo Eggleston (Owner)$786KAffiliate of Hunter Wise. Typical of Hunter Wise dealers, they took about 20%-25% down for margin contracts, never delivering metal, or having the metal backing it.
NWT Mint
(Auburn, WA)
a/k/a Northwest Territorial Mint
n/aRoss B. Hansen (Owner)
a/k/a Bernard Ross Hansen
n/aFiled for bankruptcy on April 1, 2016. In 2008, complaints of orders taking over 30 days led to a voluntary Consent Decree, providing terms that they must follow regarding deliveries that take longer than the time quoted (or 30 days). Owner spent time in prison due to an issue with his previous business, Auburn Precious Metals, for avoiding tax-reporting requirements (cash transactions >$10K) and having a gun illegally. Had bullion sales of about $20M/year in 2011, $80M total sales in 2015.
National Bullion Investors, LLC
Norstar Capital, LLC
(Fort Lee, NJ)
27 Feb 2009
Jim Weiss (Director)
Juliya Weisbrot (President)
Eugene McGowan (Managing Director)
UnknownApparently not really an LLC. They offered financing up to 80%. One customer ended up spending $5,000, had $4,700 put into silver options, and then was told he would need to pay up $10K and maybe $50K. Issued a cease-and-desist by Iowa in 2008, and California in 2009. They claimed the metal was owned by the client, but stored at a bank.
National Bullion and Coin, Inc.
d/b/a National Bullion & Coin Services, Inc.
(Plantation, FL)
Capital Credit Management & Finance, Inc.
(Tamarac, FL)

28 Jun 2000
(CFTC action)
Joseph B. Flanigan (Owner)
Lawrence Colman (Owner)
UnknownOffered financed, stored metal. CFTC complaint says they did not buy or store the metal. Assets were frozen.
National Gold Exchange
(Tampa, FL)

24 Jul 2009
Ch.11->Ch7 bk
Mark Yaffe (Pr.)
Alan Yaffe
UnknownA large coin wholesaler, filed for bankruptcy. Bank accused Mark Yaffe of cashing in $12M-$15M of pledged coins to build his 29,000SF mock 17th century English country manor. Also accused of losing $881K in speculative trading in gold futures. Alan's sons now run Gainesville Coins. As of early September, 2014, the NGE bankruptcy has spent over $3.8M in fees to lawyers and other professionals. On December 4, 2015, Mark Yaffe was sentenced to 20 months in prison despite being a 'wonderful person and an asset to this community' according to the judge (62511-018, Pensacola FPC, release date 10 May 2017).
National Safe Depository Corp.
a/k/a Panorex
(Seattle, WA)
April, 1987Steven Baldwin
a/k/aSteven George Baldwin
$1.25MSold silver and interest-bearing silver certificates, but actually only bought 1 silver bar. Had over 25 separate bank accounts. Apparently created company to bail out his other enterprises, one of which had $300K embezzled by an employee. Sentenced to 5 years in prison (06734-085, released 12 Nov 1993).
Newbridge Alliance, Inc.PDF
26 Feb 2014
(CFTC Order)
John King (Owner)$450K+Apparently an intermediary between Hunter Wise and dealers. Very little capital and few assets. Ordered to pay over $2M.
Newbridge Metals, LLC
(Boca Raton, FL)
24 Sep 2013
(CFTC order)
Unknown$1.5M+Apparently an intermediary between Hunter Wise and dealers. Ordered to pay restitution of $1,517,930.66 to its customers.
North American Asset Management, LLC
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Mar 2013
(ceased operations)
Alexi Bethel (Owner)
Steven Labadie (Owner)
$2.5MAffiliate of Hunter Wise. Typical of Hunter Wise dealers, they took money down for margin contracts, never delivering metal, or having the metal backing it.
Oakmont Financial, Inc.
(Boynton Beach, FL)
July, 2011Joseph Charles DiCrisci (Owner)$2.3M+Accused by the CFTC of selling illegal margined bullion contracts. Used Worth Group.
Omega Knight 2, LLC
a/k/a E Hen, Inc.
a/k/a Waterbridge Group
(Miami, FL; Hallandale Beach, FL; Great Neck, New York)
13 Jun 2018 (CFTC complaint)Aviv Michael Hen (President/CEO)
Erez Hen (employee)
UnknownThe CFTC accused them of taking $5.5M from at least 90 customers, purportedly to buy metal on margin and/or have it stored. However, the CFTC says that they misused the funds, such as a $16,735 meal at a New York steakhouse, and $116,000 towards car payments. The CFTC accuses them of making some blatantly false statements.
Own Gold, LLC
Houston, TX

03 Mar 2014
Adriana Camargo
a/k/a Adriana Maria Camargo
a/k/a Adriana Palomino
Naadir Cassim
Jon Craig Nelson
Michael Don Skillern
Lawrence Wunderlich (President)
$7.2MAggressively sold a scheme that was supposed to get lots of gold mined in Nevada and Montana, with victims primarily in Britain. Used the website owngold.us. Cassim (5 years, 60935-018), Nelson (8 years, 44655-379), Skillern (10 years, 44656-379), and Camargo (2 years, 60931-018) were sentenced to prison.
PFG Coin and BullionPDF
Nov 2009
(assets frozen)
Trevor Cook
a/k/a Trevor G. Cook
UnknownRun by Mr. Cook, who was accused of running a $190M Ponzi scheme (mostly currencies related).
PGS Capital Wealth Management
(Sherman Oaks, CA)
PGS Capital Credit, Inc.
(Las Vegas, NV)
07 Apr 2014
(CFTC Order)
Charles Victoria (Owner)$450K+Used Hunter Wise. Claimed to sell financed physical metal that would be stored, but did not. Ordered to pay $462,727.50 in restitution to their defrauded customers
Pacific Coast Coin Exchange
a/k/a Monex International Ltd
12 Dec 1974
(SEC consent)
Louis E. Carabinin/aAccused by the SEC in 1974 of using funds from customers to buy a jet plane, gold mine, loans to officers, etc. instead of buying silver as customers believed.
Pacific Exchange Group
(West Palm Beach, FL)
(Henderson, NV - Virtual)
04 Sep 2014
(CFTC Order)
Matthew L. Hall (Owner)$202,577Another Hunter Wise dealer, with telemarketers taking as little as 20% down for stored metal bought on margin. No metal was actually bought.
Palm Beach Capital, LLC
(Palm Beach, FL)
15 May 2014
(CFTC Complaint)
Lawrence Scott Spain (President)$1.25M+Used Hunter Wise. Claimed to finance and store metal, with as little as 20% down. Of $1.35M paid to the company, they kept $526,000.
Pan American Metals of Miami, LLC
(Miami Beach, FL)
Pan American Metals of Miami Beach, Inc.
(Miami Beach, FL)
29 Jul 2013
(CFTC order)
William J. Hionas (Owner)$3.1M+Used Hunter Wise. Claimed to sell financed physical metal that would be stored, but did not. 35% of what they took in went to commissions, fees, etc. Charged $1.5M penalty by CFTC.
Paramount Metals Exchange, LLC
Paramount Credit, LLC
(Delray Beach, CA)
01 Apr 2013
Isaiah Goldman (Owner)
Brock Catronio (Owner)
$1.5MAffiliate of Hunter Wise. However, the CFTC says that they claimed customers were making outright cash purchases. Instead, part of the money was sent to Hunter Wise.
Precious Metal House Corp.
(Vaughan, Ontario, Canada)
Was: Sanvoy Holdings Inc.
22 Feb 2013
David Ceresne
Bryan Ceresne
$900KSold physical metal. Filed for bankruptcy 22 Feb 2013, with about 91 creditors owed about $1M.
Precious Metals Acquisitions, Inc.
05 Oct 1983
Abdul Salam (Owner)
Paul J. Greenberg (VP)
$200K+Run by a former International Gold and Bullion Exchange employee. Offered a financing plan through Capital Bank of Miami, who would finance and store the metal.
Premier Precious Metals
Rushmore Consulting Group
PPM Credit
(Deerfield Beach, FL)
20 Mar 2012
(FTC action)
Anthony J. Columbo (Owner)$3.5M+Was a Hunter Wise dealer. Had 7 telemarketers when the receiver showed up on 22 Mar 2012. They had no accounting records, just a checkbook. All active accounts showed a loss. They lost over $3.5M of customer funds, but earned $2,870,775.43 in commissions, fees, etc. One customer invested $16,490, got charged $15,698.01 in commissions, $6,808.06 in interest/service fees.
Prosperity Consultants, Inc.PDF
29 Jun 2005
(CFTC Complaint)
Christopher Smithers
a/k/a Chris Smithers
Jack Smithers (father)
$511K+Solicited people to invest in commodities futures. Accused of bringing an account balance into the negative in a matter of hours, while representing a positive account performance to the client. Was reported to be akin to a Ponzi scheme. Some client money was used on gambling. "Any trading that did occur resulted in overall losses".
Queen Shoals, LLC
Queen Shoals Capital, LLC
Queen Shoals Fund, LLC
Queen Shoals Group, LLC
Queen Shoals Holdings, LLC
(Charlotte, NC)
30 May 2009
(NC State raid)
Sidney S. Hanson
(62YO in 2009)
Charlotte M. Hanson
(61YO in 2009)
UnknownThey were accused of selling over $32M of 'private loan agreements' to about 500 investors, using 45 consultants. Much of the investments were supposed to be in precious metals. They guaranteed 8% to 23% returns, yet invested in risky investments, used the money to pay investors from old unsuccessful schemes, and such.
Reputable Rare Coins, LLC
(Roseville, MN)
U.S. Collectables
(Gilbert, AZ)
14 Feb 2011
(MN action)
Tory Hughes (Owner)
a/k/a Tory Evan Hughes
>$700KHughes was charged with mail fraud. Reportedly would make unsolicited sales calls, primarily to the elderly. Some customers sent money and coins and received nothing in return. Moved operations to Arizona in November, 2013. MN AG served a Civil Investigative Demand in December, 2010 that they did not respond to. A former employees said Hughes would arrange for customers to ship coins to him, with no intention of shipping back the agreed-upon coins. Accused of using the money to buy drugs and gamble. Hughes reportedly has a prior criminal record, including convictions for burglary and check forgery. Sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison (06734-085, at Coleman Low FCI, relea se date 28 Aug 2020).
Rhyne Precious Metals
(Seattle, WA)

July, 1996Craig Rhyne
a/k/a Craig W. Rhyne
$3.6MThe owner was reportedly 'one of the most prominent and respected precious metals dealers in the Northwest'. He had his lawyer contact the U.S. Attorney's office, and shut down due to 'financial irregularities'. He was accused of using customer money for purposes other than buying their bullion. Many people reportedly lost their life savings. Sentenced to 3 years in prison for fraud (26275-086, released 05 Nov 1999).
Rockwell Asset Management, Inc.
(Boca Raton, FL)
07 Apr 2014
(CFTC Order)
Frank O. Davies (Owner)$477K+Used Hunter Wise. Sold metal on a financed basis, purportedly in storage. CFTC ordered them to pay $477,210 in restitution to their defrauded customers.
Royal Metals Group, LLC
(Bettendorf, IA)
17 Sep 2018Chelsea Gless (CEO/Owner)
John T. Clark (COO/CFO)
Ashley McGough (Assistant to CEO)
$618,000Royal Metals Group, LLC opened around 2009 and reportedly offered bullion through investment advisors. It seems they shut down around the beginning of 2018, owing customers metal and money. CFTC complaint filed September 14, 2018.
S. J. Woods, Inc.
(Holbrook, NY)
21 Aug 2014
(CFTC Complaint)
Paul Proscia (Majority Owner)
Peter Blanco (Part Owner)
$2.9MAffiliate of Hunter Wise. Typical of Hunter Wise dealers, they took about 25% down for margin contracts, never delivering metal, or having the metal backing it.
Sam Croce Financial Management
(Las Vegas, NV)
26 Oct 2011
Samuel John Croce (Owner)
a/k/a Sam Croce
a/k/a Sam J. Croce
a/k/a Samuel J. Croce
a/k/a Samuel John Croce
a/k/a Sam John Croce
Kristyne Croce (Representative)
UnknownHusband and wife. Sam Croce would borrow money from investors using a note, to buy commodities.
Secured Precious Metals International, Inc.
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Secured Precious Metals Management, Inc.
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)

28 Jan 2013
(CFTC Order)
Linda Laramie (Owner)UnknownUsed Hunter Wise. Sold financed metal to be stored.
Security Rare Coin & Bullion Corp.
Central Coin Exchange, Inc.
Angela Corporation

~1990William J. Ulrich
a/k/a William James Ulrich
UnknownAccused by the FTC of grading their own coins, and marking them up 2-3 times the wholesale price, yet calling them low-risk investments sold near market value. $11.2M FTC judgment. Accused of fraudulent sale of rare coins, Ulrich was in prison for 6 years (04648-041, released 07 Apr 1995).
Seedub Capital Ventures, Inc.
(Stuart, FL)

25 Aug 2010
Jones C. Wash (President)UnknownWas apparently considered a branch of The Bullion Group, Inc. (see elsewhere). Issued a cease-and-desist by Missouri on 25 Aug 2010.
Sentry Asset Group, LLC
Sentry Asset Management, LLC
(Boca Raton, FL)
Mar 2014
John Pakel (Owner)$1.1MAffiliate of Hunter Wise. Typical of Hunter Wise dealers, they took about 25% down for margin contracts, never delivering metal, or having the metal backing it.
Slemmer Enterprises, LLC
Dorrian Enterprises, LLC
Roth Investment Group, LLC
Berkley Hard Asset Group
Berkley Hard Assets
Berkley Rare Diamonds

31 May 2016
(CFTC complaint)
Jeffrey Slemmer
Christian Dorrian
Adam Roth
$2.7MApparently would entice customers to buy precious metals, failing to purchase and store sufficient amounts, and then used bait-and-switch to get customers to sell the metal and buy diamonds, which had fraudulent appraisal documents.
Southern Trust Metals, Inc.
Loreley Overseas Corp.
(Coral Gables, FL)
23 Jul 2014
(CFTC Complaint)
Robert Escobio (Owner)$2.6MSold both fully paid transactions and financed/leveraged transactions. The CFTC alleges that the financed transactions had no metal backing them, just over-the-counter derivative tradeswith Hantec Markets Limited and Berkeley Futures Limited. Escobio was the subject of an NFA action and NFA Business Conduct Complaint in 2013,
Spyker Consulting, LLC
(Deerfield Beach, FL)
Spyker International Metals
Spyker International Bullion Brokerage Services
First National Capital Group, LLC
World Clearing Corporation
(British Virgin Islands)
30 Nov 2010
Luis Ferreira (Owner)
a/k/a Lou Ferreira
a/k/a Lou Almeida
a/k/a Luiz Carlos de Almeida
a/k/a Luiz C. de Almeida
a/k/a Luis Carlos de Almeida
a/k/a Mike Todd
Breno R. Gomes (Owner)
UnknownRun by 2 convicted felons that met in prison, were re-convicted, and one is now a fugitive.
Stella Group
(St. Paul, MN)

02 Nov 2012
(MN action)
Tiffany Grady (Owner)
a/k/a Tiffany Norwood Grady
$225K+The Minnesota Attorney General's office entered a default judgment against the company and owner with a $226,000 civil penalty. There were a number of complaints of people getting unsolicited calls, ordering coins, and never getting them. Sentenced to 24 months in prison (18484-041, Waseca FCI, release date 23 Sep 2017).
Sterling Precious Metals
(Boca Raton, FL)
20 Jun 2012
(FTC action)
Kerry Marshall (Member)
Matthew Meyer (Owner)
Francis Ryan Zofay (Owner)
$4M+They took in at least $10M, mostly from elderly customers. Telemarketers told people they could 'earn large profits quickly and safely with precious metals'. People bought on margin, about 20% down. Up to 39% of cash downpayment was paid in commissions. $4.7M FTC judgment.
Superior Gold Group
(Santa Monica, CA)

07 Dec 2010
Bruce Sands (Owner)
(a/k/a Bruce Richard Sands)
John March (CTO)
$24M+Over 250 complaints filed, mostly from people who paid for metal and did not receive it (although there may have been as many as 1,000 victims). Placed into receivership and had its accounts frozen. Orders Sands to pay $2M in resititution. Also, an injunction preventing him from owning a precious metals business. No longer in business. Mr. Sands was sentenced to over 11 years in prison (65272-112).
T.G. Morgan, Inc.

1991Michael Blodgett
Michael William Blodgett
$25MIn 1991, the FTC accused the company of misleading customers into buying coins at up to a 200% markup. In 1992, the company was forced into bankruptcy. In 1993 Blodgett was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison (05707-041, released on 24 Jun 1999). He continued to maintain his innocence.
TWC Trading
North Fork Six Rare Coin Consultants
(New York)

22 Jul 2014
Chrysanthos Nicholas$200K+In the business of evaluating, storing, buying, selling, and trading coins and precious metals. Accused of not paying his clients or returning their coins on request. The indictment was based on an investigation by the FBI.
The Bullion Trading Group
(West Palm Beach, FL)
a/k/a The Bullion Trading Company Inc.
a/k/aThe Bullion Group
a/k/a Bullion Trading Group
a/k/a The Bullion Trading Group
Global Asset Management, Inc.

UnknownChristopher A. Kertatos (President)
Richard Eugene Engel
Robert Michael Henry
Richard W. Lutz
Kevin Ivan Desangles (Broker)
$1.3MOffered leveraged metal. Accused of producing fraudulent trade confirmation statements, and making phony margin calls. The FBI was involved. Several people involved in this company were involved in others previously that had failed, and/or had previous bankruptcies. 4 people accused of mail fraud.
The Gold Exchange
a/k/a coinmaven.com
a/k/a Eagle Numismatics, Inc.
a/k/a thegoldexchange.net
a/k/a Brett Bogus Inc.
(Humble, TX)
1989Brett Bogus
(Brett David Bogus)
UnknownFelony indictment in 2014. Several people claimed issues such as him not returning their gold. Was also charged with grand theft in California in 2005. Apparently mocked on Pawn Stars for trying to sell a $6,500 banknote for $650,000.
The Tulving Company
(Newport Beach, CA)
10 Mar 2014
(ch. 11 bk)
Hannes Tulving, Jr.
Reportedly with a business partner
$17MFiled for bankruptcy in March, 2014 after many complaints of orders not being shipped. Nearly 400 creditors owed $17M. The owner was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, despite rumors of a silent partner that embezzled millions of dollars.
U.S. Metals Group
(Woodland Hills, CA)
Global Asset Management, Inc.
(Hollywood, FL)
10 Nov 2010
Eduardo Arguello (President)
Ezra Levine (Representative)
David Kaufman (Representative)
UnknownThey ran a website, www.usmetalsgroup.com. In about 2009, they were subject of litigation involving securities fraud and breach of investment contracts. On 10 Nov 2010, the California Department of Business Oversight issued a desist-and-refrain order. The site is no longer operational. In one investment, a $73,000 investment went down to $3,000.
United Precious Metals, LLC
(Salt Lake City, UT)
11 Jan 2002
(Emergency Order)
Clark Thomas Jolley (member and R.A.)
Phillip Gregory Wagers [member]
UnknownClaimed to have barrels of iridium that needed to be assayed. The Utah Division of Securities issued an emergency order to stop them, and fined them $216,000.
United Precious Metals
(Boca Raton, FL)

20 Oct 1983
Ch. 11 bk
Gary R. Fox (owner)
John Anthony Corrieri (VP)
$11MSold physical metal, told people it would take 12-16 weeks for delivery. They would then be offered 1.5% of the value per month to delay delivery. Fox was sentenced to 575 years in jail.
United States Capital Trust, LLC,PDF
26 Feb 2014
(CFTC Order)
David A. Moore (Owner)$450K+Apparently an intermediary between Hunter Wise and dealers. Very little capital and few assets. Ordered to pay over $1M. 100% of his customers lost money.
United States Rare Coin & Bullion Reserve
United States Coin and Gold Reserve
U.S. Money Reserve
United States Rare Coin and Bullion Reserve
Presidential Money Bureau
U.S. Vault Collection
(Austin, TX)
15 Nov 2011

20 Jul 2018
(class action)

Milton W. Verret (Founder)
Annette M Renaud (President)
Phillip Diehl (President)
n/aThe State of Texas went after this company, which signed an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (not admitting fault), and agreed to $5M of restitution. They were accused of bait-and-switch (advertising 1/10oz gold eagles at no dealer mark-up, and switching people to proof or commemorative coins). Some consumers complained that the buyback price was about 1/6 to 1/4 what they expected. The company denies the allegations. The CEO is reported to be Philip Diehl, previo us Director of the U.S. Mint.

Around July, 2018, a law firm filed a class action lawsuit alleging fraudulent sales practices at USMR. The example they give is an elderly woman who bought $250K of gold coins that were actually worth about $65K. This is concerning for a company that claims 'We Are America's Gold Authority™'.

Vertical Integration Group, LLC
(Lake Worth, FL)

13 Jan 2014
(CFTC action)
Richard V. Morello (owner)
Junior Alexis (owner)
Used Hunter Wise. Claimed to finance and store metal. CFTC filed a civil injunctive enforcement action.
Wholesale Assets Worldwide, LLC
(Lakeville, MN)
a/k/a Smoke Shack, Inc.
a/k/a Best Price International, LLC

06 Aug 2014
Dennis Helmer
a/k/a Dennis Charles Helmer
a/k/a Jeff Jones
a/k/a Mr. Diamond
a/k/a Dennis Dimon
>$1.2MHelmer was charged with 16 counts of mail fraud and 3 counts of wire fraud by the Department of Justice. Apparently would had many people sending him money or coins, and he did not give them their coins or money in return. He claimed to store coins for some of them. Many elderly victims. Accused of making false claims of 75 employees and $500M revenue. Had prior criminal charges for similar conduct. Moved the business to Florida in November, 2013 when he discovered he was under investigation. Sentenced to more than 12 years in prison (61076-018, Coleman Medium FCI , release date 27 Jun 2025).
World Allied Advisors
(Orlando, FL)

25 Feb 2011
(FBI raid)
Kelvin I. Desangles (Owner)
Christopher A. Kertatos (Employee)
UnknownEmployed Christopher A. Kertatos, of the defunct The Bullion Trading Group.
WorldPMX, Inc.
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
17 Sep 2014
(CFTC Complaint)
Sean F. McCabe (Owner)$2.4MAffiliate of AmeriFirst. Typical of Amerifirst dealers, they took as little as 20% down for margin contracts, never delivering metal, or having the metal backing it.
Worth Group
(Jupiter, FL)
[was: Wilshire Capital Management Corp]
[was: Worth Bullion Group Inc]
13 Aug 2013
CFTC Fraud Charges
Andrew Wilshire (100% owner)
Eugenia Mildner (President)
>$13MThey sold metal, some financed. The CFTC accused them of not buying metal unless the clients demanded delivery. Instead, they bought derivatives. 37.5% of money went to commissions. Losses exceeded $13M.
Yorkshire Group Inc.
(Staten Island, NY)
Aug 2012
Scott Platto (Owner)UnknownUsed Hunter Wise. Claimed to finance and store metal. CFTC filed a complaint. Typically 25% down, 15% commission, 3% markup.
Young Scott & Associates, LLC
Boynton Beach, FL)
23 Sep 2014
(CFTC Complaint)
Todd Young (Sole Employee)$162K+Affiliate of Hunter Wise. Typical of Hunter Wise dealers, they took about 25% down for margin contracts, never delivering metal, or having the metal backing it.
Goldfinger Coin and Bullion (GCB)
Goldfinger Bullion Reserve Corp.

???James Fayed
a/k/a James Michael Fayed
>$24MOver one million people used the site to invest in bullion via a virtual e-currency backed by bullion. It allowed individuals engaged in fraud to move money around anonymously. It was shut down in August, 2008. The owner was sentenced to death for paying some men to kill his wife (CDCR#3340, San Quentin).

  • First, remember that the companies that are still in business may have done nothing wrong, despite any allegations.
  • In some cases, owners were related (such as two brothers, or husband and wife).
  • In some cases, the same person was involved in multiple companies, starting a new one after one failed.
  • In a number of cases, the person/people involved had prior actions taken against them by the CFTC and/or SEC.
  • In several cases, a principal had a prior action(s) (such as fraud charges) taken against them.

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