News and Press Releases

Grand Jury Indicts Four Individuals For International Fraud Scheme Involving The Sale Of Gold

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 3, 2014

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Naadir Cassim (38, Barcelona, Spain and Orlando, Florida), Jon Craig Nelson (67, Houston, Texas), Michael Skillern (47, Houston, Texas), and Adriana Maria Camargo, a/k/a Adriana Palomino (36, Barcelona, Spain) with conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.  If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison on the conspiracy count, 20 years’ imprisonment on the money laundering conspiracy count, 20 years in federal prison for each mail fraud and wire fraud count, and 10 years’ imprisonment for each money laundering count. The indictment also notifies the individuals that the United States intends to forfeit a bank account, a vehicle, and investments, which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offense.  As well, the United States is seeking a money judgment for the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.

According to the indictment, from at least as early as August 2011, through at least February 2014, the above named individuals, and others, engaged in a fraud scheme, in which they directed and caused the sale of purported but nonexistent gold ore or gold doré from mines owned or controlled by them, through a company called OWN GOLD, LLC. The conspirators’ victims were located both inside and outside of the United States, including the United Kingdom. To facilitate the scheme, the conspirators recruited, instructed, supported and paid telemarketers to place unsolicited calls to potential and existing victims outside the United States, from boiler rooms. The telemarketers employed high-pressure and misleading sales techniques when promoting the nonexistent gold ore or gold doré.  The indictment further alleges that Cassim, Nelson, Skillern, Camargo, and others then caused victims to wire their funds from the United Kingdom and elsewhere, to bank accounts controlled by the defendants. The conspirators used the victims' funds to perpetuate the scheme and for their own personal enrichment.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.          

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Secret Service, the City of London Police and the Spanish National Police. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rachelle DesVaux Bedke and Sara C. Sweeney.

If you invested in gold ore or gold doré through a company called OWN GOLD LLC, you could be a victim.  Please contact our office via email at the following email address:  USAFLM.TPAVW@usa.doj.gov.  Please reference “Cassim” in the subject line.

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