2 arrested in New York in coin fraud cases prey on elderly in South Florida, authorities say

Print Email
March 26, 2010
By Michael LaForgia, The Palm Beach Post

Accused of running a $40 million boiler-room scam on New York's Long Island, Joseph Romano posted bond, headed to Delray Beach and continued preying on elderly victims, federal authorities said Friday.

Romano and a co-conspirator, Russell Barnes, used a slick website, cold calls and high-pressure sales tactics to sell rolls of coins to unsuspecting buyers, according to court documents filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz. Now, Gatz is arguing the duo should be jailed until their cases are resolved.

Read more ...


Numis Network a Scam? Numis Network Review. Some Hard Questions

Print Email

February 10, 2010 by Dennis Volz  

I’ve been hearing a lot about the Numis Network lately. There’s a lot of talk about this one-of-a-kind Network Marketing company. It certainly is unique in that it’s the only one, at least to my knowledge, that sells numismatic coins.

I also hear lots of ’slogans’ — “Autoship that increases your net worth.” and “Why Not Buy Money”. These are coupled with lots of comparisons to other traditional network marketing products because, “You don’t have to test it, learn how to use it, drink it, develop a taste for it or demonstrate it — Because IT’S MONEY!”

Seems that the slogans boil down to the comparison that with everyone else you get ‘useless’ stuff that can pile up in your garage, but who wouldn’t want a garage full of MONEY!

This concept troubled me, so I did a little research.

Buying money looks like a good idea. On the surface, it sounds like a no-brainer.

But is it?

I’m a numbers guy because I believe that in dieting and business, the figures never lie.

So I went to an expert. A gentleman I know right here in San Diego who has been buying and selling coins for over 30 years. Makes a VERY GOOD living at it, I might add.

Here’s what he told me:

Most uninformed consumers purchase these coins at retail. They have four values:
1. Retail
2. Wholesale
3. Spot
4. Currency.
Retail is what most consumers will pay for the coin. Wholesale is how much a dealer will pay for them either from another dealer or from a consumer who wants to “cash in” his coins. Spot is simply the value of the metal. Currency is the value of the coin to buy something at Walmart.
He also gave me the wholesale values of the two coins described below – AKA; Reality.

(I encourage you to check this out for yourself with a coin dealer in your area. Just call a local coin shop.)

The true value of any asset is the amount of dollars you can get in exchange. Your house is worth what a buyer will pay you for it in dollars. A car lists for $2900 in the Auto Trader for 3 weeks and the seller finally takes the best offer of $2000. That car is worth $2000. Doesn’t matter what the seller paid for it.


The 2009 MS 70 PCGS Silver Eagle sells at the Numis Network for 149.95.
Let’s look at it’s four values:
Retail: 149.95
Wholesale: $25-50
Spot: $15.54 (1 oz of Silver 2/9/10)
Currency: $1


The 2009-W PR70 ANACS $50 Gold Buffalo sells at the Numis Network for $1,899.95.
Let’s look at it’s four values:
Retail: $1,899.95
Wholesale: About $100 over Spot ($1180)
Spot: $1080 (1 oz of Gold 2/9/10)
Currency: $50

If these numbers are correct and unless a collector can unload his entire collection at retail prices (unlikely) then his “assets” from The Numis Network are worth 1/3-2/3 of what he paid and likely never to recover back to the retail price.

If you’re spending $150+ a month on an autoship, do you want to be buying anything with a liquidation value that’s 1/3-2/3 of what you paid for it?

That’s NOT increasing your net worth. That’s destroying it.

NUMIS STATEMENT (from their website):
Investment Disclaimer:
Collectors purchasing coins from Numis Network should view such purchases strictly in the context of purchasing coins as collector coins. Numis Network does not promote the collecting of numismatic coins for investment purposes, nor provides any investment advice whatsoever. Numismatic coins may decrease or appreciate in value based on numerous factors, including spot price of silver, gold and collector’s demand. Collectors should consult their own financial expert for any investment advice.

Seems to me that Numis Network is selling “money” at an inflated price. They make it clear in the above statement that you should be in this as a COLLECTOR not an INVESTOR. They seem to be saying to get these if you like to collect them, but don’t expect to break even or much less make a profit.

Spending $2000 over a year on numismatic coins to find that you have a set of coins worth $700 or $800 can be a little disturbing.

Let’s keep our eyes wide open here in the marketplace…

 

Source: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1493971/numis-network-a-scam-numis-network-review-some-hard-questions


Warning - Monex Tape Records Telephone Disclaimers to Fight Lawsuits by its Customers

Print Email

Rare coin and precious metal hawker Monex, which can be seen on television soliciting investments in gold and rare coins, has apparently left many customers unhappy.  If one searches on the Internet, one can find many negative postings about the firm, which makes its money regardless of whether its customers lose theirs.  Lately, the firm has started to defend fraud claims by playing a tape recording of its customers being read boilerplate disclaimers over the telephone.  Customers who feel defrauded and file a lawsuit may be dismayed to find that the telephone sales pitch, which they relied upon in deciding to invest, was not recorded by the firm.  However, if the case otherwise has merit, this defense tactic should not prevent a just outcome, as the firm has difficulty giving a good explanation for why it only tapes material favorable for its legal defense.

If you invested in precious metals like gold or silver, or bought rare coins from Monex, you most likely lost money.  If you are wondering how it happened, the answer is that Monex, unlike other firms, pushes highly leveraged margin transactions, as high as 5 to 1, and has commissions and spreads at 5% or more.  Thus, Monex customers are often liquidated after a surprise margin a call.   Normally, a commodities firm charges a fixed commission and has no spread, so the costs of doing business with Monex is vastly higher than at most firms, and the risks much greater.

Source: http://www.timkaren.com/lawyer-attorney-1305138.html


Pamela Fayed's Murder Marks The Beginning of the End for E-bullion

Print Email

For OpEdNews: DGCmagazine - Writer

July 28th, 2008 was a Monday night like most other weeknights but as the sun set over the California coastline about 6:35 p.m. e-bullion's Pamela Fayed was being murdered. This is a tragic event, a mother has died and she was someone the DGC industry knew very well. She leaves behind two young daughters.

By sunrise the next morning, all of the local news channels were running the story and a lot of details on the day to day operation of Goldfinger Coin & Bullion Sales were starting to appear on index pages across the Internet.

Most of the California television and newspapers focused on the fact that James Fayed and his estranged wife were going through a messy divorce. The early reports talked about court documents which had shown around $12 million in assets up for grabs in the divorce.

The Ventura County residents were fighting over their business assets, including $12 million in bank accounts and stores of gold and silver, according to court documents. [1]

Late Friday, August 1, just days after losing Pamela, the news broke that James Fayed was in Federal custody. It is important to note that he has not been charged with a crime relating to Pamela's murder. James Fayed as the operator and signatory on GoldFinger/e-bullion bank accounts had been arrested for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1960, which is operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

It appears from the documentation that Fayed's current money transmitting charge stems from e-bullion acting as third party receiver for alleged ponzi funds amounting to something like $20 million.

"during a roughly eight-month period in 2005 and 2006, bank accounts in the name of GCB, over which defendant was a signatory (along with his deceased, estranged wife), received and transferred out over $20,000,000 in proceeds from Ponzi scheme victims. The victims did not intend to use defendant's business to purchase gold or precious metals, as defendant's website represents as the service offered by defendant's company. Neither defendant nor the entities he admittedly controls were licensed to transfer such funds. Accordingly, defendant was charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business." [2]

This charge is identical to the one received by Douglas Jackson of e-gold. (This is one of the charges he "plead guilty to" in the recent e-gold plea agreement.)

A similar New York State Criminal charge was also used to arrest Arthur Budovsky and Vladimir Kats aka "Ragnar Danneskjoldof" of GoldAge.net back in July 2006. Article 13-B of the New York banking law states that it is a felony to transfer money without a license. (charges whether State or Federal are just allegations and all parties are presumed innocent)

After Jim Fayed's arrest, court documents began to surface on the Net such as restraining orders, bail documents, indictments and more. One web site even uncovered that James had gone bankrupt in 1997 and it seemed that all the dirty laundry was now coming out.

Almost all of this information either "by the piece" or looking at the "big picture," paints a grim picture for the future of e-bullion and Goldfinger Coin & Bullion Sales. The e-bullion web site has been reportedly offline for "maintenance" since August 5th. http://www.e-bullion.com However, the Goldfinger Coin and Bullion web site is still live and operating. http://www.goldfingercoin.com

05 August, 2008, 1:00pm PST: The e-Bullion website will be unavailable for a period of approximately four hours while our Tech Dept. performs routine maintenance.

An associated press story tried to make a connection between e-bullion, James Fayed and a federal fraud investigation, but no reliable source could confirm that information.

"The FBI is investigating possible fraud at a gold-trading business co-owned by a woman killed this week in a parking garage, an official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on Friday. The agency is investigating the activities of Goldfinger Coin & Bullion Sales, said the law enforcement official, who was not authorized to comment publicly because the probe was ongoing." *By Thomas Watkins Associated Press Writer

After Jim's arrest, the press had a field day with the information regarding the search of his residence.

"During the search of defendant's residence, officers also found approximately $60,000 in cash wrapped in plastic material; approximately $3,000,000 in gold; and approximately 31 firearms, including one with a long-range night vision scope, along with thousands of rounds of matching ammunition. The cash and gold were seized." [3]

The firearms were legally owned and left at the residence.

James Fayed's bail which was originally set at $500,000 but he was not released. The government came back and argued further for his detention and today he still sits in a cell. How? The government has presented a reasonable argument to the court that this defendant is a flight risk and a danger.

"...this Court can and should conclude that defendant, at this time, has every reason to flee, and that no condition or combination of conditions can assure his appearance in this case." [4]

Why? Among other reasons, the vehicle used in Pamela's murder was caught on video and the tag traced to an Avis rentals very near to the e-bullion office. The American Express card used to rent the vehicle was not only in the name of James Fayed, but the exact card was found in his wallet during a search of his residence on August 1st.

"Pamela's murderer left the crime scene in a red SUV that was captured on surveillance video, along with its license. The license was traced to Avis car rentals in Camarillo, not far from defendant's business. The vehicle had been rented from Avis on July 3, 2008 using an American Express card issued to defendant and GCB. An American Express credit card with the same account number was found in defendant's wallet during a search of his residence in the days following Pamela's murder." [5]

It's is important for readers to note that James Fayed has not been charged in connection with his wife's murder and not been convicted of any crime. In America, he remains innocent until proven otherwise. It is also very important to understand the full extent of the government's investigation into Goldfinger/e-bullion. From the court documents we know that the original indictment was returned on February 26, 2008, (6 months ago) under seal, and as of today, the FBI is still investigating Goldfinger Coin & Bullion Sales and e-bullion.

Take a look at the creative way investigators gained access to the financial accounts on the Goldfinger/e-bullion accounts...

We can make a guess and say that around January or February of 2008 there were likely numerous signed complaints relating to lost funds from this large ponzi which was accepting funds through e-bullion. We can also assume since they became the target of the investigation that most of the complaints pointed a finger directly at the Goldfinger (GCB) bank accounts and e-bullion digital gold accounts. How did the government get access and control over these private statements without sending the subpoena right to James Fayed?
In October of 2007, James Fayed filed to divorce his wife Pamela. In April of 2008 a court appointed receiver was instructed to "examine and secure" the gold holding and other assets under Jim's control at their business location. This was routinely being done for the purpose of the divorce settlement.

"April 2008, defendant provided business records to Pamela's forensic accountants, only after he was ordered to do so after resisting for months, in order to allow the accountants to ascertain the value of the marital estate and to provide information to set spousal support." [6]

Now.... right here...this is where the plot thickens. It seems that while the records were at Pamela's accountants, the government subpoenaed them through the accounting firm gaining access and copies to help build their criminal case against James.

"At that time, the government's investigation into defendant's business affairs remained underway and the government subpoenaed the accountants to produce the records they had obtained from defendant." [7]

From this time in April when the first sealed indictment came back, it is not clear that James Fayed was ever aware of any government investigation right up to the point he was arrested. However, it's clear the the accountants blabbed to Pamela about the subpoenaed records and Pamela, through her attorney, offered her assistance to the government.

"On or about June 24, 2008, Pamela's then defense counsel advised the government that Pamela wanted to cooperate in its investigation." [8]

James is not talking and that's probably the smartest thing he has done yet.

"The government argued and continues to argue that defendant's role as the primary suspect in Pamela's murder makes him a serious risk of flight and a danger to others, whether or not Pamela was murdered in order to obstruct the present case. The facts show that defendant had become desperate. He was likely concerned that Pamela would cooperate and be a witness against him in this case." [9]

As James sits in custody, the police and FBI are now searching for his brother Anthony Fayed and have labeled him a "person of Interest" in Pamela's murder. Anthony Fayed, is a 53 year old convicted felon, ex-convict and drug abuser. He is now believed to be in possession of a handgun and on the run. One court document and separate article describes Anthony as being proud of his close connection to the violent white supremacist prison gang known as the Aryan Brotherhood (AB) or "The Brand." Anthony is also currently being sought for an outstanding warrant on a previous legal matter.

Before her murder, Pamela had petitioned the Ventura County Superior Court in California for a restraining order against Anthony Fayed and was denied because of "insufficient facts."

There are many other e-bullion problems that have not yet made it to the front page. Victims of yet another ponzi scam using e-bullion digital currency called "Invest Manager," which apparently folded some time ago, are looking for their money back. These victims filed a class action suit against e-bullion believing that the proceeds may still be stored in e-bullion accounts. Lawyers in the suit stated they had some degree of success and cooperation from e-bullion on the location of scam funds.

"Invest Manager" was a typical HYIP (High Yield Investment Program) online ponzi scam promising 12 percent return a week. Dozens if not hundreds of these schemes are still in operation today and it is easy to find them. Most people consider them illegal, but digital currency operators love the income generated by the tiny mass payments. To locate some of the most popular scams operating today, Google "HYIP e-bullion" in your browser and have a long look at all the "investments" and the interesting ways they are marketed to greedy victims. It's very common to find hundreds of HYIP "investment" ponzi scams at any one time operating across the Internet and accepting digital currency. Most scams now appear to be dropping e-bullion in favor of Liberty Reserve.

Meanwhile, the class-action lawsuit filed in Ventura County, which does not accuse e-bullion of any wrongdoing, is seeking as much as $5 million dollars. In classic 'Internet' fashion, the people behind Invest Manger have not been identified, nor has its headquarters or place of incorporation.

There has been no e-bullion reply to the "Invest Manager" legal complaint, which was filed May 20. After the legal notice of the suit ran for a month, the judge can now determine how much the e-bullion owes and give the legal OK to retrieve the victims' funds back from e-bullion (good luck).

Yet, another buried topic is the seizure of e-gold accounts in April of 2007. The massive government action against e-gold at that time included the seizure of 58 e-gold accounts including the popular 1MDC account, several large exchange agents and the account of The Bullion Exchange. http://www.thebullionexchange.com The web site still has some text information regarding the "money transmitter" violation and legal action.

"The seizure order, under which the United States Government took control of the contents of The Bullion Exchange's bank account is the subject of a civil action filed in the United States District Court in Delaware. The funds are being securely held by the judicial system pending a resolution of the civil litigation. The allegations contained in the complaint, contend, inter alia, that The Bullion Exchange failed to register, or secure a license to act as a money transmitter (in violation of 31 C.F.R. Section 103.11(uu)(5)(1)); additionally, the complaint contends that The Bullion Exchange failed to obtain a business license in the State of Delaware, violating 5 Del. Code Section 2303. The Bullion Exchange vehemently denies the allegations and has challenged all of the accusations contained in the civil complaint."

Most casual observers are not aware of this but The Bullion Exchange was owned and operated by the Fayeds through Goldfinger. [a "source who was close to the Fayeds" explained this in great detail to me]

"The Bullion Exchange was just a part of Goldfinger. They deliberately used a different address and phone number. The purpose of the bullion exchange was to make it easy for people with money in e-gold to move it to e-Bullion. That's the sole reason the Fayeds set it up. Pam pretty much ran the bullion exchange herself, it was the one little piece of the business Jim let her have control over."

Here it seems is yet another government action pending against the Goldfinger business.

Is e-bullion done, finished and over? You tell me...James Fayed's arraignment is set for August 18th.

[1] http://www.latimes.com/...story
[2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9] http://www.dgcmagazine.com/blog/?p=202

 

Source: http://www.opednews.com/articles/1/Pamela-Fayed-s-Murder-Mark-by-DGCmagazine-080811-177.html


Counterfeit Coins Cost Consumers Millions

Print Email

By Kathy Kristof
Oct 12, 2009

Beware buying rare coins online, at flea markets and swap meets. Consumers are spending millions buying what they believe are rare coins, but they’re getting near-worthless Chinese-made counterfeits.

More than a million counterfeit coins manufactured in China have been fraudulently sold in the U.S., according to Coin World, a respected industry publication. Some of these were peddled as “replicas” but they were manufactured without the requisite “copy” stamp.

Roughly 99% of the replicas produced in China don’t contain the “copy” marking that’ required by the U.S. Hobby Protection Act, which is aimed at warning consumers that they’re getting a mass-produced replica rather than the original, according to Coin World. As a result, it’s easy to resell these coins at flea markets, swap meets and through Internet auctions, without giving the buyer any inkling that the coins could be fakes.


fake 1916-D dime, back
fake 1916-D dime, front

fake 1916-D dime, front
fake 1916-D dime, back

 

“Millions of dollars already have been spent on these fakes and potentially millions more may be unwittingly lost by consumers who mistakenly think they are getting a genuine rare coin,” said Paul Montgomery, president of the Professional Numismatists Guild.

How big of a difference does it make? A genuine 1916-D dime sells for about $700, but a replica can be had for $21.

“Generally the replicas being sold have zero commercial value,” Scott Schechter, vice president for the Numismatic Guaranty Corp. told me in an interview. “Most people are looking at a total loss.”

Consumers may be particularly vulnerable at a time when precious metal prices are hitting all-time highs, largely because consumers have become nervous about traditional investments such as stock and bonds, as well as the rapidly declining value of the U.S. dollar. Roughly $5 billion in rare coins are sold each year, even in the midst of today’s recession.

In a joint release issued by the American Numismatic Association, the Industry Council for Tangible Assets, the Professional Numismatists Guild, the Numismatic Guaranty Corp., and the Professional Coin Grading Service, the groups urged consumers to research before they buy and restrict their purchases to reputable companies that they have reason to trust. If you are tempted to buy at a flea market or online, you may want to check out the coin with authentication companies such as the Numismatic Guaranty Corp. or the Professional Coin Grading Service.

The Professional Numismatists Guild will also provide a copy of its booklet, “What You Should Know Before You Buy Rare Coins,” for $1 if you send a request to them at 3950 Concordia Lane, Fallbrook, CA 92028.

Source: http://moneywatch.bnet.com/saving-money/blog/devil-details/counterfeit-coins-cost-consumers-millions/768/


Alleged Coin Fraud Strikes eBay

Print Email

By Michael Mahoney
E-Commerce Times, 04/19/01

Several eBay customers complained about eBay's handling of the most recent massive fraud on the auction site, saying eBay knew about the problem and took too long to shut it down.

Just as one six-figure online auction scam on eBay was finding closure, eBay has begun investigating another, according to published reports Wednesday.

This time, the alleged fraud involves the sale of over US$400,000 in gold and silver coins and bullion, which were allegedly never delivered to winning bidders after payment was received, the New York Times reported.

News of the investigation arrived not long after two men pleaded guilty in Sacramento, California federal court to scamming eBay users out of $450,000 over two years by bidding on their own auctions to drive up prices.

eBay spokesperson Kevin Pursglove told the New York Times that eBay is working in conjunction with authorities to assist in the investigation of Anthony L. McEnroe of Peoria, Illinois, who allegedly used the account of another seller that was in good standing, called BillionOne, to auction the coins.

False Positives
According to a customer  post on eBay, the false account used by McEnroe received more than 27,000 positive buyer feedbacks (mostly on the sale of Beanie Babies), approximately 17,000 of which were from repeat buyers. McEnroe was also reportedly using AuctionsManager software purchased from the owner of the account, enabling him to run hundreds of coin auctions simultaneously.

McEnroe told the New York Times that he had done nothing wrong and that late deliveries are often a result of customer errors. He also stated he feels eBay is threatened by the use of the AuctionsManager software.

"Nobody here has ripped anybody off that I know of," McEnroe was quoted as saying.

Blame Game
Several eBay customers have complained about eBay's handling of the situation, alleging that eBay knew about the problem and took too long to shut it down.

"eBay should take responsibility in this," one customer said. "I just sent payment on Saturday and they apparently knew about this and didn't inform us or shut this guy down."

The majority of eBay customer complaints stemmed from the fact that a former account selling coins under the name Tony McEnroe was also shut down in January for non-delivery. The January account used the same mailing address as the BillionOne account.

"eBay was notified about this possible connection some time ago," an eBay customer wrote. "They stonewalled and denied there was any connection! Guess what!!! I believe a lot of good eBayers will get burned badly on this."

Migraines All Around
However, Pursglove told the New York Times that eBay acted as rapidly as its procedures allowed. eBay reportedly suspended the account on Saturday.

The coin fraud is not the first time eBay has been accused of sitting back on a known auction scam. An auction of phony sports memorabilia turned into a legal headache for eBay when a $100 million lawsuit was filed in the spring of 2000, alleging that eBay knew about the auctions but did not take sufficient measures to thwart them.

Although a California judge dismissed the class action suit in January, an attorney for the plaintiffs said that they intended to appeal. The plaintiffs claimed that they purchased $10 million worth of phony memorabilia through eBay. 

 

Source: http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/9079.html?wlc=1274289295&wlc=1274295924