James P. Burg, formerly of Fairplay, Colo., ripped off his customers for gold coins and, in at least one instance, “used one customer’s payment for coins to refund funds to another customer,” federal prosecutors said.
The scam fetched more than $2.4 million and operated through three websites, prosecutors said.
Burg, 61, became the subject of an investigation carried out by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the office of U.S. Attorney John Walsh of the District of Colorado said.
He has been charged with six counts of wire fraud, four counts of money laundering, four counts of willful failure to file tax returns and nine counts of mail fraud.
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has no shortage of investment investigations and this is another example of greed overcoming honest business practices,” said Adam Behnen, inspector in charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
From a statement by prosecutors (italics added):
As part of the scheme, Burg represented that he was the chief executive officer of a company known as Superior Discount Coins (SDC) and that SDC was in the business of selling coins. Burg also conducted business using a company known as Gold Run Investments (GRI) and represented that GRI was in the business of selling coins. At times, Burg operated GRI using the alias “Tim Burke.” Burg advertised and solicited customers through radio advertisements and over the Internet using websites he controlled, including; www.superiordiscountcoins.com, www.yourcoinbroker.com, and www.goldruninvestments.net.
Burg misrepresented and promised customers that if they ordered coins from SDC or GRI and paid him for those coins, he would deliver the coins to them or to accounts designated by them. He sent and caused to be sent to customers that ordered coins from SDC or GRI invoices stating amounts of money owed for the coins and, in some cases, providing information about a bank account to which the customers should transfer their money to purchase the coins.
The money Burg received from customers was not used to purchase coins for such customers, but instead he converted the money to his own use and benefit. Burg refused to refund money to customers in several instances where the customers requested a return of their money after he failed to deliver coins as originally promised. To prevent the scheme’s detection, Burg sometimes filled customers’ orders for coins only after such customers threatened to take legal action or report him to law enforcement authorities. Burg used one customer’s payment for coins to refund funds to another customer.
“Fraud schemes are often described as a house of cards and will eventually fall apart exposing the individuals responsible,” said Stephen Boyd, special agent in charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office
See 9News.com report from 2011: