By James Smith
8 Mar 2014
Horror stories of people losing their life savings because of thieves are like the tide, they happen more frequently when tough economic times seem to force people to choose keeping family heirlooms, or sell them for quick cash.
PRECIOUS METAL FRAUD
Fraud, simply stated, is when someone does not receive what they should expect from another person during a transaction. Fraud has been around since man began trading some form of currency for product or services.
Precious metal fraud is when a person:
- Wishes to sell an object that contains gold, silver, or platinum and receive money for the value of the content of the metal, but either does not receive money, or receives far less than the agreed to consideration. Or;
- Does not send the purchased precious metal to the buyer.
You don’t have to be a victim. Using the web to learn who has a good reputation is one of the best ways to protect yourself.
A classic case of fraud involves a North Carolina man who was arrested and convicted not once, but twice, for precious metal fraud.
According to news accounts, in 1983, Connie Mack Berry, Jr. now from Cary NC, faced charges in Florida for swindling over 3 dozen customers out of $75,000. He was fined $2,500 and given a year’s probation after pleading no contest to four misdemeanors for failing to fill orders for precious metals.
In other news accounts, in 19985, Mr. Berry threw his hat into the Marietta Mayoral race, where his opponent, Mrs. Vicki Chastain, warned him to keep his hands off of her. He recorded the telephone conversation and played it a Republican Women’s meeting.
In 1992, Mr. Berry ran for the Georgia State Legislature, however his opponent reported Mr. Berry not living within the district.
In 1993 and 1994, Mr. Berry had ran failed campaigns in bids to become the Republican Mayor of Marietta, Georgia. He is now a Democrat.
Mr. Berry was convicted in Georgia in 1997 of bilking over two dozen customers out of $285,000, according to newspaper reports at the time. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution during his 90 months of probation. Mr. Berry was accused of taking gold and silver from customers that he did not pay for.
At the time of this conviction, Mr. Berry was an incarcerated inmate in a Georgia State prison on a money order scam charges and for replacing a diamond on a customer’s ring with a fake stone.
According to news accounts, in 1983, Mr. Berry faced charges in Florida for swindling over 3 dozen customers out of $75,000. He was fined $2,500 and given a year’s probation after pleading no contest to four misdemeanors for failing to fill orders for precious metals.
All criminal records appear to have been expunged.
Today, Mr. Berry runs Universal Rhodium, a precious metals firm that offers to sell gold and silver coins as part of their products.
In light of the above events in one precious metal dealer’s life, and he still works in the business, the question for anyone that is looking into buying gold or silver, is “Am I risking losing all of my investment?”
Precious metal fraud is still a very clear and present threat to your savings portfolio. Do yourself a favor and research the people you plan on doing business with. One bad mark does not mean they conduct their business as a criminal enterprise, but too many could be a very big tell.