Precious metals, coin broker sentenced to 54 months in prison for defrauding elderly clients

Precious metals, coin broker sentenced to 54 months in prison for defrauding elderly clients
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A precious metals and coin broker was sentenced to 54 months in prison Wednesday for defrauding elderly clients.

According to a news release from U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin Scott C. Blader’s office, Jamie Smith, 42, of Baldwin, pleaded guilty to the charge Sept. 17.

Smith was an owner of two precious metals brokerage houses in Hudson from 2014 to 2017. The brokerages, American Platinum Gold & Silver Inc. and American Independent Gold & Silver Inc., took part in evaluating, buying, selling and trading coins and precious metals.

While working at these brokerage houses, Smith called individuals and offered to buy, sell and trade their coins and precious metals.

The release said Smith defrauded clients by misappropriating their money and property. Smith did not honor his agreements with clients and failed to let them know he was spending their money and property on personal expenses.

Smith liquidated clients’ coins and used the money for purposes other than what was originally promised. When clients asked for their money or coins back, Smith lied and said it was in the mail.

Smith also took money from other clients for the purchase of coins but did not ship the coins. The release added that Smith took coins from clients to appraise them but never actually returned or paid them for the coins.

Smith falsely told clients he needed two years to pay everyone back due to an “employee embezzlement of company funds.” Smith promised to pay interest, penalties and taxes caused as a result of the extension.

FBI agents traced the money that went into Smith’s main business bank accounts and discovered that Smith used the money to pay for transactions at fast food restaurants, grocery stores, liquor stores, bars, hotels and even monthly mortgage and utilities payments for his home.

The FBI agents identified 46 client victims in the case, with losses totaling $1,240,299. Most of Smith’s victims were elderly, and the stolen coins represented retirement nest eggs.

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