New York joined the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and a bipartisan coalition of 26 states on Tuesday in filing a federal suit against precious metals company Safeguard Metals LLC and its owner and manager, Jeffrey Santulan, for allegedly deceiving investors across New York and the US.
The Complaint was filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California alleging that Safeguard Metals defrauded more than 450 individuals across the nation by luring them to invest approximately $68 million in precious metals. The company misrepresented its size, scale, experience, background and history.
According to the Complaint, Safeguard Metals misrepresented the amount of markup it would charge customers on silver coins that it claimed had semi-numismatic and numismatic value from at least October 2017 to January 2021. Through social media and online campaigns, the company targeted and preyed on a vulnerable group of elderly or retirement-aged individuals with minimal knowledge about investing in precious metals.
Further, to instill fear and encourage the elderly to purchase precious metals, Safeguard Metals made false and misleading claims regarding the danger and safety of their traditional retirement accounts. It led them to transfer their money from traditional retirement accounts to self-directed individual retirement accounts. As a result, many investors lost a significant chunk of their investment shortly after the transaction was finalised.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said of the suit:
Today, we are holding Safeguard Metals accountable for its shameful conduct that preyed on older New Yorkers and robbed them of a worry-free retirement. Companies’ peddling in lies and deception for profit at the expense of hardworking New Yorkers will not be tolerated.