Transient gold buyers forced to shut down

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January 5, 2012

With permission from Jerry Jordan and The Examiner. Story copyrighted by 'The Examiner'

One of the largest transient gold buying operations in the country – THR & Associates – was forced to shut its doors late Thursday evening after Beaumont Police officers entered the temporary gold buying operation set-up at the Courtyard by Marriott near Washington Boulevard and informed them they were in violation of a number of state and local laws.

The Examiner has investigated THR and its affiliated companies for more than two-years and highlighted how the company operates by conducting undercover investigations in nine states.

Primarily, the company was in violation of a new law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, requiring all buyers of precious metals to register with the state and obtain a license. Additionally, the companies must provide detailed receipts to the individuals from which they are buying, according to the law. The new law was originally pushed by the Pawn Dealers Association but also received input from several numismatic associations.

THR was also in violation of a city ordinance because none of the people buying precious metals at the Courtyard by Marriott were listed on a license application with the city of Beaumont. Both the state law and the city ordinance have criminal penalties calling for a Class B Misdemeanor that includes jail time and civil or administrative penalties or fines.

THR & Associates opened their most recent gold buying operation in Beaumont on Tuesday using the alias Mississippi Gold and Silver Refinery. The name is a spin-off of another alias – Ohio Valley Gold & Silver Refinery – and is part of a network of gold buying operations using nearly a dozen assumed names belonging to THR. The embattled company is also known as the Treasure Hunters Roadshow.

According to Sgt. Mike Mills, the manager for the Beaumont show had no clue about the state law. He said he explained to them that the company would not be allowed to operate until it was in compliance with all state and local requirements. The two employees were directed to the Beaumont Police Department in order to apply for the proper city licensing but they will also have to meet state requirements set-up by the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner for Texas and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A phone call seeking comment from a THR representative went to voicemail.