Owner of Vancouver, Washington Precious Metals Firm Sentenced to Prison for Wire Fraud
Stole more than $1.4 from 130+ Customers Who Ordered Silver and Gold That Was Never Delivered
A Vancouver, Washington, business owner who stole from later clients to pay off earlier ones in the style of a Ponzi scheme was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to four years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. AARON MICHAEL SCOTT, 40, of Portland, Oregon, was indicted in October 2018 following state and federal investigations of his internet precious metals business, Blue Moon Coins. SCOTT began defrauding silver and gold purchasers as early as October 2013 and continued until Blue Moon Coins was shuttered by the Washington State Department of Financial Services in April 2014. At today’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said, “White collar crime is under-punished in the country. Drug addiction and white collar crime are two sides of a press that will destroy the fabric of society.”
According to records filed in the case, between October 2013 and April 2014, SCOTT repeatedly accepted customer money for the purchase of precious metals and coins and then used the money for his personal, company, and hobby expenses. SCOTT represented to customers that the money would be used immediately to purchase the coins and metals, but, instead, it was used for expenses or to fulfill earlier customer orders in the form of a Ponzi scheme. When customers complained about the delay in receiving their items, SCOTT used a plethora of excuses such as: weather delays; a supplier had gone bankrupt; a corporate buyout; ice and snow; delayed armored truck delivery; and a bad flu season.
In 2015, SCOTT declared bankruptcy revealing that he had a web of businesses involved in activities, such as producing rap albums and custom jewelry, including gold teeth or “grills.” During the fraud scheme, SCOTT owned a Maserati and a Porsche but transferred ownership of the luxury cars before the bankruptcy filing.
In all more than 139 customers were defrauded of more than $1.4 million. Losses to individual investors range from just over $2,000 to more than $154,000.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Vancouver Police Department and the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC has filed a civil enforcement action against SCOTT and Blue Moon Coins seeking restitution for the victims and a permanent registration and trading ban.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Reese Jennings.