Prosecutors say former Twin Cities gold coin dealer Jamie Lee Smith allegedly defrauded his customers of $1.1 million.
Smith, 41, of Baldwin, Wis., was charged Thursday in a 23-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in U.S. District Court in Madison, Wis. Charges include wire fraud, mail fraud and making a false statement on a loan application.
Smith, formerly of Burnsville, until 2014 operated two companies in Minnesota: American Platinum Gold & Silver in St. Louis Park and American Independent Gold & Silver Inc. in Robbinsdale. The companies then moved to Wisconsin and since 2016 operated out of the same office in River Falls, the indictment said.
Smith could not be reached for comment.
Prosecutors allege that Smith’s scheme ran from 2010 to February 2017. He allegedly promised clients he wouldn’t sell or trade their coins without their approval, but instead “Smith liquidated his clients’ coins and used the funds for purposes other than what he promised the clients,” the indictment said.
He also allegedly took his customers’ money to purchase coins, but never shipped the coins to them; and he took in coins for appraisal from some clients, but never returned them, the indictment said.
The indictment is the result of an investigation by the FBI, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the Internal Revenue Service and law enforcement agencies and regulators in Wisconsin.