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All About Silver - ... the buck stops here ...
$5 Billion(?) Class Action Against Monex and owners Louis Carabini and Michael Carabini



[LAST UPDATED 11 Jun 2014]

FAQ Categories:

The Tulving Company - Background, history, stats
The Tulving Company - The fiasco
About bankruptcy
About the class action lawsuit and TRO
Info for those with unfulfilled orders
Info for those who shipped metal and did not get paid
Info for those who ordered recently and did get their order
Info for those who sold metal recently and did get money
About about.ag
About the media's lack of coverage
About donating


The Tulving Company - Background, history, stats

Who was The Tulving Company?
The Tulving Company was a company started by Hannes Tulving, Jr. in 1990, that in 1995 started selling bullion on the Internet. He claimed sales of $675M in 2011. He was one of the largest retail bullion dealers (also dealing with coin dealers and small bullion dealers), known for being gruff and unwilling to hand-hold customers, but usually providing the best prices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, often with shipping the same day he received funds.
Where were they located?
The office was at 750 W 17th ST Suite A, Costa Mesa, CA, 92627, a location they spent $30,000 a month on. However, they advertised a Newport Beach post office box, and gave a physical address in Newport Beach for wiring purposes (but that belongs to a restaurant). They also used an Aliso Viejo, CA address for shipping metal to.
What was the average order size?
The average order size of complaints was about $44,000.
How many customers did The Tulving Company have?
They claim they have done business with over 35,000 customers.
How many orders did they take over the years?
I estimate that they took around 150,000 to 200,000 orders from 1995 throgh 2014. This is based on their invoice numbers, which appear highly accurate.
Did they have much repeat business?
Yes, repeat business accounted for much of their sales. From the numbers, it appears that the average customer ordered over 5 times. In many cases, once a customer ordered from Tulving, they would always order through Tulving (if they could meet the minimums).
How many employees did they have?
This varied over the years. At first, it was likely just Hannes Tulving, Jr. I am aware of 12 people that have worked there. However, for the last year, there may have only been about 4 people working there (Hannes Tulving, Jr., Karen, and 1-2 order takers), since they were mostly drop-shipping. At times, there may have been about 8-10 people working there. It was a very small organization.
What do people mean by the 'Soup Nazi'?
The Soup Nazi is a character from the T.V. show Seinfeld, who runs a soup store and has very strict rules, and will ban people ('No soup for you!') who do not obey (or even complain with justification). Hannes Tulving, Jr. was reportly simiar, in that he had some strict rules in place (e.g. with shipping metal to him), you were never to complain, and occasionally he would tell a potential customer that their request was too much work, and would effectively say 'No bullion for you!'.

The Tulving Company - The fiasco

What happened to The Tulving Company?
The short version is that they went out of business on March 3, 2014, with hundreds or thousands of orders that had been placed, but without having been shipped. For more details, see the Tulving Post-Mortem Page.

They then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 10, 2014. It was later converted to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

How many complaints were filed about unfulfilled orders?
I tracked about 640 complaints from around April, 2013 through the end of February, 2014.
How many unfulfilled orders were there?
Only Tulving can say for certain. However, I believe the number to be somewhere around 1,000 orders. As reference, he took roughly 4,600 orders during the time it seems clear he was insolvent (mid-April, 2013 to March 3, 2014).
How much money is owed?
Again, only Tulving can say for certain. However, I feel confident in saying it is well over $10M, possibly as much as $40M. The complaints I tracked suggest about $8M of unshipped orders, and I am estimating about 1 in 5 customers filed a complaint (based on the number of orders he processed).
When did Tulving's troubles start?
I believe they started around September, 2011, after the price of gold reached its peak and started declining.
When did Tulving become insolvent?
I believe that Tulving became insolvent around mid-2012, after selling off all their inventory, and starting to use customer funds to pay off their debt.
Why did this go on for so long?
One big problem is that I was the only one to cover the problem. Also, it was not until April, 2013 when orders started taking over 28 days to deliver. People typically waited about 3 months to file a complaint. Many people were afraid that if they complained, Tulving (a/k/a the 'Soup Nazi') would not let them order again. Once the problem became well known, it was up to regulators to take action, but that process is quite slow.

About bankruptcy

Has Tulving filed for bankruptcy?
The Tulving Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 10, 2014. The case number is 8:14-bk-11492-ES, filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, Santa Ana Division.
What is bankruptcy?
Essentially, it means that someone (or in this case a company) admits that they have more debt than assets, and cannot pay everyone they owe.
What happens after bankruptcy?
Had it been a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (which I thought to be the only realistic option), all Tulving's assets (those of The Tulving Company and/or Hannes Tulving, Jr., depending on how it is filed) would be liquidated, and the assets distributed among creditors (customers) after expenses are accounted for.

He instead filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy (for The Tulving Company), which allows for reorganization (in other words, he could continue running the business). There are still unanswered questions.

Does/did Tulving have any assets?
Yes, but likely not anywhere near what he owes.

The Tulving Company's bankruptcy paperwork reports the estimated assets as less than $50,000, although I estimate them to be higher. There was some inventory seized by the Secret Service, some other coins left behind, a few vans, lots of random business equipment (shelves, phones, etc.), as well as the valuable tulving.com domain name, phone number, and customer list.

What other assets might be involved in a bankruptcy?
Unfortunately, anyone who ordered (or sold) within 90 days of March 10, 2014 may be required to send back their metal (or cash), if the bankruptcy trustee chooses to and it is allowed. However, that would substantially increase the assets available to bankruptcy creditors.
How long will it take to get any money?
This is hard to say. In general, bankruptcies typically take a number of months to (often) several years.
Do I need to file a Proof of Claim form?
If you are listed in the creditor list (which you should be, once the petition is complete), and you believe the information (e.g. the dollar amount) is correct, you should not need to file the Proof of Claim form (but can if you choose to). If for some reason you are not in the creditor list, and you believe you are owed by Tulving, you definitely should file the Proof of Claim (not doing so will likely prevent you from receiving any money that you would otherwise get). You can download the Proof of Claim form here.

Now that it is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, every creditor must file a Proof of Claim form. Check the main page here for instructions.

Am I on the creditor list?
As of the initial bankruptcy petition filing, only 9 creditors were listed, so you likely were not listed. However, Tulving needs to file a full creditor list. This is going to be delay until mid-May, because Tulving's records were seized by the Secret Service on about March 9, 2014. You should be included in the list if you are owed money (or metal). If do NOT get included in the full creditor list (which should not happen), you would need to file a Proof of Claim form.

Since it is now a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must file a Proof of Claim form.

About the class action lawsuit and TRO

Has a class action lawsuit been filed?
Yes, case #3:14-cv-01054. You can download a PDF copy of the complaint here.
What is the class in the lawsuit?
It looks like it will be anybody who ordered from Tulving and did not receive their product. Note that this does not appear to include people who sold back to Tulving and never received a check.
What benefits would the class action lawsuit provide over bankruptcy?
I am not entirely clear on this. A bankruptcy would likely liquidate all Tulving's assets and distribute them among creditors. If Tulving does not declare bankruptcy, the lawsuit would like provide some relief. If the bankruptcy goes through, and Tulving had further assets beyond what was owed customers, a class action lawsuit might have the potential of generating more than the lost funds. There are some other advantages of a class action lawsuit being in place.
What lawfirm is handling the class action lawsuit?
The lawfirm of KRONENBERGER ROSENFELD, LLP. Contact information is available at about.ag/Tulving.htm.
What about the TRO (temporary restraining order)?
A temporary restraining order was filed, and approved by the judge, on March 10, 2014, good through the end of the day on March 18, 2014. It freezes The Tulving Company's bank account, and prevents Hannes Tulving, Jr. or The Tulving Company from selling any metal (or leasing, concealing, etc.).

After the week is up, a preliminary injunction hearing will be held.

Info for those with unfulfilled orders

I ordered from Tulving and never got my order, what will happen?
The two potential sources of compensation seem to be from the bankruptcy proceedings, and/or the class action lawsuit. If you do nothing, I expect that you will be contacted by the lawfirm handling the class action lawsuit and the bankruptcy trustee. I will have more details as they come in.
I ordered from Tulving and never got my order, how much will I get back?
This is not known, nor can a good estimate be made at this time. It depends on a number of factors, mainly the assets Tulving has available.
How can I stay up to date?
We have a mailing list at about.ag/Tulving.htm.

Info for those who shipped metal and did not get paid

I sold metal to Tulving (or sold back what I ordered and did not receive) and never got my check, what will happen?
You should be contacted by the bankruptcy court shortly after Tulving files the full creditor list. I will have more details as they come in. Note that the class action lawsuit that has been filed does not include people that sold metal to Tulving.
I sold metal to Tulving and never got my check, how much will I get back?
This is not known, nor can a good estimate be made at this time. It depends on a number of factors, mainly the assets Tulving has available.
Why am I not part of the class action lawsuit?
Class action lawsuits group together people that have very similar claims, involving the same legal issues. In this case, there are a number of significant differences. For example, if you sold back (at a loss) what you ordered from Tulving (but did not receive), a big question may be whether you were unfairly coerced into the transaction (knowing you might not get your metal). There is also the issue of Tulving receiving the spread (buying from you at their 'buy' price rather than the 'sell' price), whereas the FTC requires them to refund your money entirely (if not shipped when specified or within 30 days).
How can I stay up to date?
We have a mailing list at about.ag/Tulving.htm.

Info for those who ordered recently and did get their order

I ordered from Tulving recently, and did get my metal. Is there anything I need to know?
Yes. If you received your metal after December 9, 2013 (within 90 days of the bankruptcy filing), there is a chance that the bankruptcy trustee may use 'preference' laws (clawback) to force you to return the metal.

If you are considered an insider (e.g. you may have had influence over Tulving), the 90 days is extended to a year. I will update this as I find out more.

Why would I have to send back my metal?
The idea behind the bankruptcy preference laws is that Tulving, knowing bankruptcy was imminent, could have picked and choosed who to give metal to (such as people he knows well). So instead of some people having all their order and others having none, all the people would have some of their order, which the bankruptcy laws consider more fair.
When did the 90-day period start?
From my calculations, it started December 10, 2013 (meaning any orders received on or after that day would be subject to being returned).
Does it start when the order was shipped, or received?
That is not completely clear. I believe that what matters is the date that the order was shipped, so if you received it on December 10, 2013 you might be outside the 90-day period.
How can I stay up to date?
We have a mailing list at about.ag/Tulving.htm.

Info for those who sold metal recently and did get money

I sold metal to Tulving recently, and did get my check. Is there anything I need to know?
Yes. If you received your check after December 9, 2013 (within 90 days of the bankruptcy filing), there is a good chance that the bankruptcy trustee may use 'preference' laws (clawback) to force you to return the money.

If you are considered an insider (e.g. you may have had influence over Tulving), the 90 days is extended to a year. I will update this as I find out more.

Why would I have to send back the money?
The idea behind the bankruptcy preference laws is that Tulving, knowing bankruptcy was imminent, could have picked and choosed who to give cash to (such as people he knows well). So instead of some people having all their money and others getting none, all the people would get some of their money, which the bankruptcy laws consider more fair.
When did the 90-day period start?
From my calculations, it started December 10, 2013 (meaning any money received on or after that day would be subject to being returned).
Does it start when the check was sent, or received?
That is not completely clear. I believe that what matters is the date that the check was sent, so if you received it on December 10, 2013 you might be outside the 90-day period.
How can I stay up to date?
We have a mailing list at about.ag/Tulving.htm.

About about.ag

Who is About.Ag?
About.ag is a website designed for silver investors, intent on finding out the truth about everything silver (and gold), especially where other websites refuse to go. In this case, no other website has been following Tulving's demise.
Who is writing about Tulving for about.ag?
I go by the name of Joshua Gibbons.
Are you owed money by Tulving?
No. My last order was in November, 2012, and took nearly 3 weeks.
Why are you covering the Tulving fiasco?
I used to order from Tulving, and he almost always had the best prices and fastest shipping. I referred him to many, many people over the years, and feel bad knowing that some people are in this mess as the result of my recommendations.
When were you first concerned about Tulving?
After placing my last order in November, 2012. No websites had concerns about Tulving at that time (except one that tracks dealers, where many thought the complaints were shills from other dealers). When I expressed concern on private forums ("I'm getting more and more concerned" and then "So the first sign of trouble with a business like this, in my opinion, would be a noticeable change in delivery times and 'juggling' orders."), I got the typical response not to worry (e.g. "Buy with confidence" and "that's a wild supposition"). I started keeping an eye on Tulving at that time.
How did you predict The Tulving Company's imminent demise on February 19, 2014?
I wrote that they had reached 'The Tipping Point', as my analysis showed that they were receiving more complaints than orders. They could only keep the game going if they could respond to all official (e.g. BBB, BCA) complaints by promising to ship the order. But they could only do that if they had more incoming orders than complaints. I detected that the complaint volume and order volume were about equal, with the complaint volume going up, the order volume going down. At that point, the business was no longer sustainable. They shut down 12 days later.
How did you predict The Tulving Company was effectively out of business on February 28, 2014?
I knew that for about 6 months, they allocate money from incoming orders to sending orders where people had complained. I knew this was now no longer sustainable. The key here was that I saw that they stopped responding to BBB and BCA complaints. Once that happened, keeping the business alive seemed impossible. I wrote that they were effectively out of business. About 8 business hours later, employees were sent home.

About the media's lack of coverage

Is anyone else covering The Tulving Company's demise?
No. A local newspaper near Tulving (intended primarily for local readers) wrote 3 articles. There was also a very informative article in CoinWeek. Other than those, I am unaware of any other website, newpaper, magazine, blog, YouTuber, etc. that has written even a single unique article regarding the Tulving saga.
But I read about it somewhere online?
Aside from the CoinWeek article, if you did, it was almost certainly either a forum post by an individual (although I was the only one actively posting updates about the Tulving situation), or a 're-tweet' of an article from here (or one of the three small newspaper articles). There are a number of gold and silver websites that just post snippets of articles other have written and link to them.
Who should have covered it?
Many websites should have covered it, but did not, such as GATA, Kitco, and King World News. For example, GATA posts several links daily to metals news, commentary, etc. But they just link to what they see, they do not go beyond that. So, despite being against MSM ('MainStream Media'), they linked to the two local newspaper articles, but not about.ag. And Kitco was worse; they hold themselves out as being a major source of news regarding gold and silver, including many commentaries. Yet they only mentioned Tulving once since his problems started: using a screenshot to back up that there might be a silver shortage. That's it! King World News waited until February 24, and just did a re-hash of the newspaper article, doing sloppy research, e.g. 'Now it appears that more victims are coming forward'.
This is huge news, why did nobody else cover it?
I think there are 3 reasons. First, I was covering it so closely, there was little information to provide that I had not. Second, they were scared of going against a company that did nearly $1B/year of business at one time (who, in the case of Kitco, was a competitor). Third, it seems that there really are few websites out there that hunt for new stories regarding gold and silver (they just cover what others find).
Are people scared to write about Tulving?
It really looks that way. Despite many websites out there with people blogging about silver, I am not aware of any other website (aside from the newspaper local to Tulving) that wrote a word of their own about it. However, many people referred to our articles (e.g. about Tulving being closed), but when they did so usually very clearly stated that they could not confirm it. They were extremely cautious.
Why are you the only ones actively writing about Tulving?
I don't understand how someone can consider themselves covering the gold and/or silver markets, without covering one of the largest silver and gold dealers shutting down with $40M or so of customer orders unfulfilled. Perhaps they all think that since I am writing about it, they do not need to.
What about Harvey Organ's blog?
Less than 3 days before I announced that The Tulving Company was effectively out of business, over 4 months after I started warning people about The Tulving Company, Harvey Organ declared that there was a 'Huge Story!' about Tulving. He quoted the King World News article, which basically re-hashed what GATA said, which was just a link to a local newspaper article. So he was warning people that there may be delays, a week after I warned people that The Tulving Company had reached The Tipping Point, and the end of the company was near.
Are any websites actively covering this up?
Yes. The one that we are aware of is Kitco. In their forums, although they are allowing some posts about The Tulving Company, they are removing all posts with "about.ag" in them. They also refuse to write any news articles about The Tulving Company.

About donating

Can I donate money to help the victims?
Not at this time, at least. Tnis site is not qualified to do so, nor has any organization stepped up to do so. I doubt any will.
Can I donate money to about.ag?
No, I am not looking for any donations. I cannot imagine profiting from this while others have had so much money taken from them.

Aside from my time, the costs are minimal. There are some costs to retrieve court documents, get a few legal questions answered, etc., but the revenue from the site is enough to cover much of that.



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