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The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and 30 state regulators that are members of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announced the filing of a joint civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against two precious metals dealers and their companies for perpetrating a $185 million fraudulent scheme targeting elderly persons nationwide.
The complaint charges defendants TMTE, Inc., d/b/a Metals.com; Chase Metals, LLC; Chase Metals, Inc. (collectively “Metals.com”), Barrick Capital, Inc. and its principals, Lucas Asher a/k/a Lucas Thomas Erb a/k/a Luke Asher and Simon Batashvili with executing an ongoing nationwide fraud that solicited and received more than $185 million in investor funds to purchase fraudulently overpriced gold and silver bullion. Tower Equity, LLC is also charged as a relief defendant.
The defendants and relief defendant are all located in Los Angeles, California.
On September 22, 2020, The Honorable Judge David C. Godbey of the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern District of Texas entered a restraining order freezing the assets of the defendants and the relief defendant and permitting the CFTC and the states to inspect all relevant records. The court also appointed a receiver to take control of Metals.com, Barrick, and Tower Equity, as well as the assets of Asher and Batashvili.
Confusingly, it appears that the website metals.com is a different entity from defendants named above. They used a dba name that looks like a website address.