Secretary Watson and Attorney General Fitch Partner with CFTC and 26 States to Stop $68 Million Precious Metals Scheme

Published 3:25 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

JACKSON – Secretary Michael Watson and Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced today that Mississippi is participating in a consolidated enforcement action to stop a fraudulent precious metals scheme that resulted in solicitations exceeding $68 million from at least 450 investors nationwide.

Mississippi joined the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and 26 other states in filing a complaint in the United States District Court for the Central District of California alleging Safeguard Metals, LLC and Jeffrey Santulan, a/k/a Jeffrey Hill solicited investors nationwide by touting precious metals at grossly inflated prices that were not disclosed.

The investors in this case were advised to liquidate their holdings at registered investment firms to fund investments in precious metals, bullion, and bullion coins through self-directed individual retirement accounts. Self-directed IRAs should not be confused with traditional IRAs or other retirement vehicles.

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The defendants are accused of failing to disclose the markup charge for their precious metals bullion products and that investors could lose the majority of their funds once a transaction was completed. In many cases, the market value of the precious metals sold to investors was substantially lower than the value of the securities and other retirement savings investors had liquidated to fund their purchase. In Mississippi, six investors were defrauded out of nearly $892,000 in the execution of this national scheme. Many Mississippi investors liquidated their existing retirement accounts, which contained securities, to obtain funds to purchase the metals.

Secretary Watson and Attorney General Fitch encourage investors to contact The Secretary of State’s Securities Division or the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division if they suspect they have been targeted by similar precious metals investment schemes.