Victims Can Immediately Apply for Recovery from State Securities Restitution Assistance Fund
Helena, Mont.- A nationwide scheme that affected 15 Montanans ─ who collectively invested more than $2.9 million in precious metals ─ was settled by the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (CSI) Troy Downing. The settlement allows victims to apply to the Montana Securities Restitution Assistance Fund for financial recovery. The victims, all of whom are over 60 years of age, were manipulated and lied to by representatives of Metals.com to invest in precious metals. Metals.com also went by several names, including Chase Metals, Barrick Capital, TMTE, Inc., and others.
“The nationwide scope of bad acts and the sheer number of victims meant the Receivership Estate, created by a separate case brought by the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission and several states, would likely only offer victims minimal financial support to recover losses.” Commissioner Troy Downing said, “For this reason, our agency chose to maintain the case we already filed against Metals.com and fashioned an agreement to ensure victims could immediately apply for relief with our Securities Restitution Assistance Fund to recoup a portion of their financial losses.”
The CSI investigation alleged Metals.com violated the Montana Securities Act by offering unregistered securities. Potential investors were advised their securities holdings were unsafe and risky and should be liquidated to be invested in precious metals.
Metals.com representatives also misled and lied to investors by claiming a fee or commission would not be charged, and the investor need only pay the current market value (the spot price) of the precious metals. However, despite these promises, investors did pay a spread or mark-up commission to the representative, reaching as high as 69% of the actual wholesale price.
“Our agency exists to police bad actors like Metals.com. The deception and intentional fraud committed, particularly against older individuals, by this company is an important reminder we all need to look at investment opportunities with a judgmental eye.” Commissioner Downing continues, “It’s important to remember all investments carry risk. If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is. If you receive an unsolicited investment offer, contact our office to research the company before you invest.”
All Montana victims who are still residents of the state, or their heirs if the victim has died while this case was pending, are immediately eligible to apply to the Securities Restitution Assistance Fund to recover some of the money lost in this scheme. The CSI has contacted the victims involved and assisted them in applying for restitution. In our state-based Administrative Action, the CSI did not seek specific financial penalties against Metals.com to preserve the maximum available funds for victims.
For questions or to report securities fraud, contact the CSI at 444-2040 or by going to CSIMT.gov.
Troy Downing is the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Montana State Auditor. Commissioner Downing is a two-tour combat veteran, businessman, and entrepreneur.