FEB 01, 2022

AG Alan Wilson announces South Carolina Partners with CFTC and 26 State Securities Regulators to Stop $68 Million Precious Metals Scheme that Targeted the Elderly

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that the Attorney General’s Office is participating in a multijurisdictional, coordinated enforcement action to stop a fraudulent precious metals scheme that involves investments exceeding $68 million from at least 450 investors nationwide.

The Attorney General’s Office has joined the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and 26 other state securities regulators in filing a complaint in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, which alleges that Safeguard Metals, LLC and Jeffrey Santulan a/k/a Jeffrey Hill, solicited investors nationwide by selling precious metals at grossly inflated prices that were not disclosed.

“This is one of several precious metals investment schemes that the Attorney General’s Office and other state securities regulators have endeavored to stop since the beginning of the pandemic. South Carolina investors should be particularly cautious when purchasing gold, silver, and other precious metals. We want South Carolinians to be on the lookout for outrageously high commissions, spreads, or markups,” said Attorney General Wilson. “As the market continues to fluctuate, we anticipate seeing more fraudsters attempting to capitalize on investors’ uncertainty and use fear to manipulate investors out of their hard-earned money.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission also announced today charges against Safeguard Metals LLC and its owner, Jeffrey Santulan.

The investors in this nationwide scheme were advised to liquidate their holdings at registered investment firms to fund investments in precious metals, bullion, and bullion coins through self-directed individual retirement accounts. Self-directed IRAs should not be confused with traditional IRAs or other retirement vehicles.

“In expectation of additional precious metals investment schemes, investors are advised to check the registration of all investment products and professionals, diligently research investments, ask tough questions about the fees, markups or spreads, risks, and potential returns,” said Attorney General Wilson. “If the answers seem too good to be true or don’t make sense, protect your wallet by just walking away.” 

The defendants are accused of failing to disclose the markup charge for their precious metals bullion products and the risk that investors could lose the majority of their funds once a transaction was completed. In many cases, the market value of the precious metals sold to investors was substantially lower than the value of the securities and other retirement savings investors liquidated to fund their purchase.

The Attorney General’s Office encourages investors to contact the Securities Division of the Attorney General’s Office if they suspect they have been targeted by similar precious metals investment schemes. The Securities Division can be reached by calling 803-734-9916 or by email to agsecurities@scag.gov.

Investors can submit a complaint or learn more about the Securities Division by visiting our website at https://www.scag.gov/inside-the-office/legal-services-division/securities/.

Back to News

Media Contact

For media inquiries please contact Robert Kittle, rkittle@scag.gov or 803-734-3670

Media Contact