According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Robert Higgins orchestrated a deceitful operation in the precious metals market, leading to significant financial consequences.
Over the course of eight years, from 2014 to 2022, Higgins masterminded a fraudulent silver leasing program, attracting deposits from nearly 200 customers.
Over 500,000 American Silver Eagle coins have mysteriously disappeared, leading to a staggering $146 million verdict against a metals dealer involved in what authorities are calling a “fraudulent and deceptive scheme.”
Robert Higgins, the mastermind behind this elaborate operation, now faces the daunting task of paying substantial damages.
The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) uncovered Higgins’ illicit activities related to the purchase and sale of precious metals. Between 2014 and 2022, Higgins orchestrated what is now known as a “fraudulent silver leasing program,” enticing nearly 200 unsuspecting customers to deposit their silver coins with his companies.
Recent court proceedings resulted in a judgment that left Argent Asset Group and First State Depository Company, both owned by Higgins, reeling from the weight of their wrongdoing.
In addition to being accused of executing a “fraudulent and deceptive scheme,” the companies had promised their clients safe storage for their valuable coins. However, investigators were met with empty vaults when they attempted to locate the supposedly secure holdings.
The court’s decision compelled the precious metals dealers to make restitution of $112.7 million and pay a further penalty of $33 million.
The severity of the penalty reflects the seriousness of the crimes committed under the Maximus Program and the Silver Lease Program, the fraudulent silver leasing initiatives operated by Higgins’ companies for eight years.
The CFTC asserts that Higgins and his firms solicited and misappropriated a staggering $7 million in funds and silver from at least 200 trusting customers.
Moreover, the regulatory body discovered that the companies offered misleading excuses to account holders who requested the withdrawal of their assets.
When authorities conducted their investigations, they were met with a shocking revelation: over 500,000 American Silver Eagle coins and more than 9,000 gold coins were conspicuously absent from the customers’ accounts. In their place, investigators discovered IOU slips nestled within empty boxes that were meant to indicate the presence of a customer’s assets.
“This kind of egregious behavior merits the full weight of the Commission’s enforcement authority,” declared the CFTC, underscoring the severity of the crimes committed.
Despite the mounting evidence and verdict, Higgins has chosen to remain silent, declining to provide a comment when approached by the BBC.
The significance of the American Silver Eagle coins cannot be overstated, as their weight and purity are guaranteed by the US government. Each coin boasts a minimum of one troy ounce (31.1g) of 99.9% pure silver, according to the United States Mint.
The disappearance of such a vast quantity of these coins has not only resulted in substantial financial losses for countless individuals but has also shaken confidence in the precious metals industry.
As the precious metals market grapples with the aftermath of this audacious heist, regulators and authorities are working tirelessly to ensure that justice is served. The hunt for answers continues, shedding light on the depths of deception and the potential vulnerabilities that exist within the industry.