State claims metals firm defrauded senior adults out of $2.4 million

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state has joined 29 others in asking a court to shut down a precious metals investment company the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions accuses of defrauding senior Kentuckians out of their retirement.

Investors were tricked into cashing out their financial assets to invest in precious metals, the state claims.

Metals.com, an unregistered investment firm, allegedly solicited more than $185 million from seniors and other vulnerable investors nationwide, including more than $2.4 million in Kentucky, by promoting investment in precious metals at grossly inflated prices, said Marni Rock Gibson, Director of DFI’s Securities Division.

The DFI legal action is a petition in partnership with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and 29 other states. The petition requests the Court order the company to cease sales activity, return money to investors, and stop violating federal and state laws.

Metals.com is also known by the names TMTE Inc., Chase Metals Inc., Chase Metals LLC, Barrick Capital Inc., Simon Batashvili, Lucas Asher, and Tower Equity LLC.

“This historic joint effort between the CFTC and 30 state regulators is a step toward rooting out fraud across the country,” said CFTC Chairman Heath P. Tarbert. “This case highlights just how geographically broad commodities fraud can be in our rapidly-evolving financial markets and how important it is for regulators at all levels of government to work together to pursue bad actors and protect market participants.”

Kentucky was one of the first states to act against Metals.com when DFI issued an Emergency Cease and Desist Order in September 2019 for violating state securities laws.

Anyone who may have been the victim of a financial fraud should contact the Department of Financial Institutions at 502-573-3390, the Kentucky Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 888-432-9257, and/or local law enforcement.

Additional information is available athttp://kfi.ky.gov and http://www.nasaa.org.

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