By CoinWeek News Staff….
California-based rare coins and precious metals dealer Hannes Tulving, Jr. plead guilty to one count of wire fraud in federal court on Thursday, August 20. The federal government contends that Tulving Company, Inc. defrauded 400 customers out of approximately US$15 million by taking orders over the internet with the full knowledge that the company was unable to fulfill them. The period of activity addressed in court documents extends from August 2013 through January 2014.
As a result of his guilty plea, Tulving could serve up to 20 years in prison and pay as much as $250,000 in fines. The company must also pay full restitution to those customers it defrauded and could still be liable for other penalties as well.
Following a raid early last year, Tulving Co., Inc. shut down on March 3, 2014 and declared bankruptcy on March 11. On March 12, A California federal judge ordered the company’s remaining assets–including coins and bullion–frozen in order to provide some relief to customers who had been defrauded.
Tulving currently is free on a $25,000 bond with no sentencing date set.
In 1992, Tulving and his prior firm Hannes Tulving Rare Coin Investments, Inc. were investigated by the Federal Trade Commission, which determined that the company had used deceptive marketing practices–including a falsified price guide–to sell coins at inflated prices. The higher prices were part of a Ponzi scheme to pay off previous customers who had been cheated by the company. Tulving declared bankruptcy and agreed to pay $10 million as part of a settlement.
The 1992 settlement allowed Tulving to re-enter the coin investment business.
Previous coverage of the Hannes Tulving story on CoinWeek:
- Questions Loom as Precious Metals Firm “The Tulving Company” Folds
- How Does $40M of Gold and Silver Disappear: The Collapse of Tulving Company