INDIANAPOLIS (February 1, 2022) – Secretary of State Holli Sullivan and Attorney General Todd Rokita announced today that they are participating in a consolidated nationwide enforcement action to disrupt a fraudulent precious metals scheme that has solicited approximately $68 million from more than 450 seniors and other investors, including investors in Indiana.
“This scheme defrauded more than a dozen Hoosiers out of $850,000 by touting precious metals at inflated prices,” Secretary Sullivan said. “The defendants intentionally targeted vulnerable elderly victims and their retirement savings. My office is proud to join this nationwide partnership to offer justice for these victims.”
Tuesday, the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State, Securities Division, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and 26 other states filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Safeguard Metals, LLC, and its owner Jeffrey Santulan, also known as Jeffrey Hill, conducted a nationwide scheme targeting the elderly that fraudulently misrepresented the markup charged to customers purchasing precious metals. The complaint further alleges that the tactics used by Safeguard Metals and its sales representatives included a variety of false and misleading statements designed to frighten investors into liquidating their retirement accounts in order to purchase precious metals from the company.
Safeguard Metals’ sales representatives are accused of targeting elderly investors and making misrepresentations, half-truths, and other false statements to convince customers to purchase precious metals. The complaint alleges that Safeguard Metals sales representatives made false and misleading statements to investors about the risk and safety of traditional retirement accounts, encouraging them to liquidate holdings at registered investment firms to fund investments in precious metals through self-directed individual retirement accounts.
The complaint further alleges that, from October 2017 to January 2021, Safeguard Metals charged a markup on silver coins that exceeded the maximum possible markup disclosed in its customer agreements by an average of almost 50%. Safeguard Metals is also alleged to have made numerous false and misleading statements about the firm’s business activities, such as falsely claiming that it maintained office locations in London, England, and Beverly Hills, California, that the company, which was formed in 2017, had been in business for more than twenty years, and that it oversaw more than $11 billion in assets under management.
The complaint seeks an order directing the defendants to disgorge all profits derived from the acts or practices constituting violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.
Today’s coordinated state and federal action was a result of a multi-state collaboration by members of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), of which the Indiana Securities Division is a member, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Office of Cooperative Enforcement.
The Securities Division encourages investors to come forward if they suspect they have been targeted by similar precious metals investment schemes. Please contact the Securities Division at email@example.com or (317) 232-6681.