MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Tennessee say four family members have been convicted of running a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme centered on buying and selling gold and silver coins.
The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday that Larry Bates; his sons, Chuck and Robert Bates; and Robert Bates' wife Kinsey, were found guilty of mail and wire fraud during a five-week trial in Memphis.
Prosecutors said the Bateses worked through First American Monetary Consultants, which had offices in Memphis and Boulder, Colorado. More than 360 people lost more than $21 million in the scheme, which lasted from 2002 through October 2013.
Customers gave $87 million to the company for the purpose of buying precious metals. But prosecutors said the Bateses kept money from the payments for their personal use.
This story has been corrected to say the Justice Department announcement came Wednesday, not Monday. Will be updated.