CFTC taking action against precious metal investment businesses

Gold and Silver

American Precious Metals LLC offered fraudulent gold and silver investments to customers. Image: Flickr / sirqitous / CC-BY

For the third time in the last few weeks, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has taken action against precious metal investors. American Precious Metals LLC has been shut down, pending further investigation. Companies have been offering fraudulent investments in gold, silver and other precious metals.

Case against American Precious Metals LLC

American Precious Metals LLC was a company based in Lake Worth, Fla. The company used telemarketers to call and pressure customers into purchasing gold, silver, platinum and palladium investments. The salespeople claimed that the company would store the physical metals for the customer and even finance part of the purchase after a significant down payment was made. In exchange, the company promised several hundred percent returns on the customer’s investment. In essence, the company was offering short-term loans for investments in precious metals — but the company never really had the precious metals. The company also never registered with the FTC or CFTC as an investment business. The charges against the company include violations of the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, as well as regulations controlling precious metals. All the assets of the company have also been frozen.

Rising precious metal prices

The increasing number of fraudulent precious metals investment scams has been boosted by the quickly rising price of most precious metals. In the last year, the per-ounce price of gold has gone from less than $1,200 to more than $1,500. Silver and other precious metals have experienced a similar price jump. This is partially because precious metals are often viewed as a “safe haven” when worldwide currencies are weakening. Some industry watchers have warned that gold and precious metals are getting close to bubble status, with prices that have expanded beyond their “real” value.

Protecting yourself when investing

Investing can be an activity fraught with dangers. There are do-it-yourself investing tools, and you can purchase precious metals and store them yourself. No matter how you choose to invest, always work with companies that have been vetted by the Better Business Bureau. You should also never invest in any precious metals company that you cannot independently verify with the FTC or CFTC.

Sources (PDF)
Futures Mag