By Minnesota Commerce Department ……
The Minnesota Commerce Department announced that a federal grand jury in the Western District of Wisconsin (Madison) has returned an indictment against a former Twin Cities area bullion coin dealer.
Jamie Lee Smith, 41, of Baldwin, Wisconsin, was charged on November 28 in a 23-count indictment with wire fraud, mail fraud and making a false statement on a loan application. Smith is a former resident of Burnsville, Minnesota.
The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Minnesota Commerce Department Enforcement Division and Fraud Bureau in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), IRS Criminal Investigation, St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office, River Falls Police Department and Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
According to the allegations in the indictment:
Smith owned and operated American Platinum Gold & Silver, Inc., (APGS), and American Independent Gold & Silver, Inc., (AIGS) from locations in St. Louis Park and Robbinsdale, Minnesota, as well as Hudson and River Falls, Wisconsin.
Smith devised a scheme to defraud customers of APGS and AIGS beginning in May 2010 and continuing until February 2017. He misappropriated money and property from the clients of APGS and AIGS, lied to his clients, failed to honor coin transaction agreements with clients, and failed to inform clients that he used their money and property to pay for his personal expenditures.
For example, Smith promised clients that he would not sell or trade their coins without their approval. In fact, he liquidated his clients’ coins and used the funds for other purposes. When contacted by clients who demanded their money or return of their coins, he lied and told them the coins or money were in the mail when, in fact, they were not.
In addition, Smith took money from certain clients for the purchase of coins, but he never shipped the coins to the clients. He also took in coins from certain clients to provide appraisals, but he never returned the coins or paid the clients for keeping them.
The indictment alleges that the scheme caused losses to the clients of APGS and AIGS in excess of $1.1 million.
Smith is charged with 11 counts each of mail fraud and wire fraud in relation to this alleged scheme. He is also charged with making false statements in connection with a residential loan application in January 2016.