Nederland Man Accused Of Stealing Almost A Quarter Million Dollars In Coins From 82-Year-Old Woman

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BEAUMONT - By Megan Dillard

You work for decades, sometimes 10 hours a day, save up your hard-earned money, and if everything works out, retire to enjoy life and put aside some of the stress.

Law enforcement officers say a Jefferson county man victimized a woman who thought she was investing a quarter of a million dollars of her retirement money in legitimate company, only to learn that wasn't the case.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office needs your help in finding a man who cost an 82-year-old California woman her retirement.

Investigators say 26-year-old Bryson Cendejas ran a fake coin exchange company out of Nederland.

The woman lives in a town in north central California. She saw internet ads for Golden Triangle Associates in Nederland.

The woman sent her gold and platinum coin collection to Cendejas through UPS and U.S. mail.

The collection was valued at nearly $250,000.

Cendejas sent the woman $16,000, but she grew suspicious that he was selling her coins without permission.

She asked for the coins back but Cendejas broke off contact with the woman.

"Be careful who you're dealing with. The thing is, there are con artists out there, there are thieves out there operating businesses that try to make themselves look legitimate. This is an 82-year-old woman that's been taken advantage of, she doesn't have time in her life to make back her retirement, she has to deal with the situation at hand, and this individual took advantage of her."

Today, we spoke with a man who is known across the country for his expertise in buying and selling coins.

Michael Fuljenz calls his interest in coins a "life long love affair."

What started as a silver dollar reward for good grades in school, has turned into a career for the coin expert.

He offered this advice for those who plan to invest in collecting and trading gold coins.

Check whether the business has professional affiliations within the industry, check the company's better business bureau ratings, and see if the business has received awards or recognition from peers in the coin industry.

Fuljenz says many people are investing their money in coins, but it's important to do your homework.

"You've generally seen, at some point in a decade, a rise in rare coins and gold has been a good place to be, better than the stock market, better than almost anywhere else, for the last 11 years."

Investigators say a Massachusetts man also filed a similar complaint against Cendejas.

He faces a first degree felony.

If you have any information about this case or where he might be, call Crime Stoppers at 833-TIPS.