December 14, 2010:
Four men at a now-defunct South Florida precious metal company have been charged with stealing up to $1.3 million from investors who wanted to capitalize on the rising prices of gold and silver. The president of The Bullion Trading Group and three company brokers face mail fraud charges, accused by federal prosecutors of diverting clients’ funds for their personal use. The business had offices in West Palm Beach and Stuart, soliciting customers across the country from March 2008 to March 2009, court records show.
The head of The Bullion Trading Group – Christopher A. Kertatos, 40, of Orlando – and the brokers, Richard Eugene Engel, Robert Mitchael Henry and Richard Lutz, have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are to be tried at the Fort Pierce federal courthouse. All four are now free on bond.
Within the past three years, South Florida has seen a proliferation of precious metals firms offering investors a chance to buy actual gold and silver rather than trading the metals on paper. Court rulings since 2004 have placed such companies outside the reach of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the government agency that oversees the commodity and financial futures markets. The attached Kertatos Indictment outlines one such scam.
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At the Fort Lauderdale Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Centeral Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.