LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- Some investors were promised big returns when they decided to invest thousands of dollars in the gold coin business. In this Rip-Off Alert from Minneapolis, none of it was real.
Nearly 500 victims lost almost $3 million after sinking his money into the International Rarities Corporation, only to learn it was a scam.
It was “complete economic devastation,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Robert Strande. “It wiped out their retirement savings, their complete savings.”
In 2008, when the banking industry was on shaky ground and Wall Street was experiencing a meltdown, opportunistic con men began touting the safety of the precious metals market.
“These victims that are elderly, they come from a generation that believes in the validity and value of coins and precious metals,” Strande said.
Postal inspectors say con men focused on the victims’ fear of an uncertain economic future to get them to buy in, and they did.
“Most people lost a tremendous amount of money -- college savings for their children and grandchildren -- anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 each transaction.”
Law enforcers say the gold industry had been growing quickly, but it is always important for investors to do their homework.
“Before you get started, you should have an idea yourself for what the coins are worth and then you consult a number of different dealers before you settle on who you are going to deal with,” said assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Schommer.
“Don't turn over your coins to anyone else without a deal in place and have it in writing. Don't just have a verbal agreement.”
David Laurence Marion, 52, the founder of the International Rarities Corporation, was indicted for defrauding clients and still awaits sentencing.
The indictment says Marion laundered his customers’ money to gamble, live large, support his ex-wife and prop up his coin firm.