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Real potential problems at Provident Metals - Page 2
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Thread: Real potential problems at Provident Metals

  1. #11
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    It's still unclear if Provident Metals is actually no longer part of the Elemetal group. They are still linked together on the internet through Elemetal Online and Provident Metals is still selling some items produced by Elemetal Mint. While they no longer have a long list of items to sell from Elemetal, they are still posting some other items as out of stock and taking information notifications as to when these items will be back in stock as well as listing a buy back price. Many new items they are selling list the mint as "PRIVATE", which could be my next door neighbor or Elemetal mint. With all the bad press regarding Elemetal mint, one sure way around that is to simply list the mint name as "PRIVATE".

    We all saw how long Tulving, Bullion Direct and Northwest Territorial Mint were able to drag out their operations long after they were a failed operation. Provident Metals is too close to a major meltdown with The Elemetal group. Even though the CEO of Provident Metals posted a noticed stating they were parting ways with Elemetal, unless they only had a handshake deal, it might not be that easy. I haven't seen any information regarding this "new" partner that Provident Metals is suppose to be tying the knot with, so to me it just seems like a stall tactic at best. Since Provident is no longer selling anything special in the way of high quality rounds or bars at low premium prices, it seems like a prudent idea to make your purchases somewhere else. And even if they were, I still wouldn't make a purchase from them until Elemetal is either completely gone from the precious metal business or they have filed for bankruptcy and the records show Provident is free and clear of them. As you can tell from the above posts, they are having problems paying people for the metal they sent in months ago and not being able to keep their promised payment schedule or so it seems. Which may very well just be another way for them to clear all their assets before any bankruptcy is actually filed. At least with Elemetal we are getting some inside information as to the trouble they have going on versus what we didn't know about the others.




    The Fall of Elemetal?

    June 29, 2017 2:30PM EST from about.ag

    It appears that Elemetal has been silently dismantling its empire over the past 6 months or so (well before the news of the $3.5B of illegal gold purchased by the 3 Elemetal/NTR employees came to light).

    The first clue should have been that was that John Loftus, founder of NTR Metals (which basically morphed into Elemetal) became the CEO of DGSE (which Elemetal has been the majority shareholder of since 2012 or earlier) in December, 2016. Within 2 months, Loftus announced that DGSE was in negotiations to buy Elemetal Recycling, for about $20M.
    The 8 Elemetal companies are:
    Company Status Details
    Elemetal Online GONE "In late 2016, [Elemetal Online/Provident] found a new partner." The Provident website does not seem to mention Elemetal.
    Elemetal Recycling GOING 17 Feb 2017 announcement that it is being acquired by DGSE. A non-binding Letter of Intent was signed in April.
    Elemetal Refining GOING Gold/silver shut down early April, 2017, insolvent, just handling base metals.
    Elemetal Capital GONE Acquired by Dorado Trade Group, LLC
    (founded/run by Elemetal employees) about June, 2017.
    Elemetal Diamond UNKNOWN Still appears to be running. However, one of the heads of the company left by March, 2017. And, sometime after May 17, 2017, Elemetal Diamond let the hosting for their app website lapse.
    Elemetal Mint GONE? Reports are that no new bars have been produced over the past few months. It is unclear what was produced by Elemetal Mint (Dallas) versus Elemetal Refining (Ohio). It may have shut down as part of Elemetal Refining shutting down gold/silver operations.
    Elemetal Vault GOING? Apparently has only 1 part-time employee who is leaving.
    Elemetal Direct UNKNOWN Appears to be running.
    Last edited by valerb; 30th June 2017 at 08:21.
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  2. #12
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    The following is Just a recap of what's going on in the news without any detail, so I've copied one of the articles and posted it below for you after the post from about.ag.

    AP's 'News' on NTR Metals

    July 10, 2017 7:30AM EST from about.ag

    Yesterday, the Associated Press (a national news 'wire service' that supplies news to thousands of newspapers, radios, TV stations, etc.) wrote an article titled 'US prosecutors: illegal gold used in money-laundering scheme'. It appeared on the Washington Post website, ABC News, Fox News, CNBC, and at least dozens of other websites.

    So what is this news? Nothing! As far as I can tell, this is all news that did appeared in national media more than 3 months ago. I do not see a single piece of information that was not known 3 months ago.



    US prosecutors: illegal gold used in money-laundering scheme

    By MARCOS MARTINEZ, Associated Press
    Sunday, 9 Jul 2017 | 9:47 AM ET The Associated Press

    MIAMI (AP) — A man who considered himself the Pablo Escobar of gold smuggling and two other former workers at a Miami-area refinery imported more than $1 billion in illegally mined gold from South America in a vast money-laundering scheme from 2013 to 2016, U.S. prosecutors say.

    In a criminal complaint, the U.S. said that the three ex-employees of NTR Metals Miami and accomplices from several South American countries coordinated the purchase of illegally mined gold originating from Peruvian mines controlled by drug traffickers.

    "The international gold trade has become a common method for the laundering of illegal mining, narcotics and other criminal proceeds," said the complaint filed by prosecutor Francisco Maderal.

    Prosecutors identified the ringleader as Juan Pablo Granda, a 35-year-old U.S. citizen born in Ecuador who formerly was director of operations for NTR Metals Miami. FBI agents detained him at his mother's home in Miami on March 15, after he was fired by NTR's Texas-based parent company.

    Evidence in the complaint includes exchanges among the three men through messaging apps, such as Whatsapp. In one of them, Granda boasted about his gold-smuggling operations by comparing himself to the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, killed in 1993. "I'm like Pablo coming to get the coke," Granda wrote, according to the complaint.

    Renato Rodriguez, once the company's executive sales director for Latin America, and Samer Barrage, a U.S. citizen born in London who once oversaw NTR's operations in Miami, also were charged. The three have pleaded not guilty and now await a trial that U.S. District Judge Robert Scola set for January 2018.

    Prosecutors say the men purchased the illegal gold from early 2013 to 2016. During Granda's bail hearing in March, Maderal said Granda alone coordinated the laundering of more than $1 billion in illegal gold.

    "In general, gold is a good medium for money laundering because it has universal and readily ascertainable value and is difficult to trace," the U.S. said in its complaint.

    NTR Metals, a Dallas-based refining company, was not charged in the case. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

    In 2014, after a Peruvian government crackdown on illegally mined gold, the drug traffickers who owned the illegal mines began smuggling the gold into Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, and other Latin American countries, and then exported it to Miami refineries, prosecutors said in the complaint.

    The U.S. government gained access to the cellphones of Granda and Rodriguez from NTR Metals, which had confiscated the devices months before the company was notified of the criminal investigation. NTR Metals requested that Granda and Rodriguez surrender their cellphones after it began an internal investigation into a $304 million gold shipment that was stolen while on its way from Peru to the United States.

    During Granda's bail hearing, Magistrate Judge Andrea Simonton said she considered the text messages to be crucial evidence.

    "These are text messages from your client that are specifically discussing gold smuggling and mules carrying gold into other countries with, you know, certain explicit details," Simonton said. In one of the exchanges, authorities say, Granda sent pictures of young men he said were hired as "mules" to carry smuggled gold.

    Granda, Rodriguez and Barrage searched for clients using "smiling and dialing" cold calls, authorities added.

    Prosecutors said the three cultivated relationships with gold sellers by entertaining them and bringing to Miami. On a trip to Chile, Rodriguez and Barrage entertained a Chilean gold smuggler with alcohol and prostitutes, the complaint says.

    Defense lawyers for Granda and Rodriguez declined to comment about their clients' cases. Barrage's lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.





    Last edited by valerb; 10th July 2017 at 17:16.
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  3. #13
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    Apparently there are a number of Gold bars in question as to rather they actually contain the minimum standards to be called .999 or .9999. It's not yet been established that I'm aware of, but the following is one method of checking to see if your Gold bar might be a counterfeit bar with a fake serial number. Especially if they are using the checksum method which is a random number generating approach as I understand it. There is some lab testing being done on a couple bars right now that seem to fall below the standards.

    OPM/Elemetal/NTR Serial # Tester


    July 20, 2017 9:45AM EST

    There has not been much news about Elemetal lately.

    In the meantime, I now have the details behind the OPM 1oz gold bar serial numbering system. The bars sold from around January, 2013 through around August, 2015 have 10-character serial numbers in the format A00000000A. They include a checksum, making it quite difficult to come up with valid serial numbers (without knowing the formula).
    I have set up a simple page that lets you test to see if the serial number on an OPM, Elemetal, or NTR appears to be valid. It can also check bars with the serial format 00-00000, although those are trivial to fake (the first 2 digits are the year). But the 10-character OPM serial numbers are very, very hard to fake, as the checksum is very thorough. So while B15202129R is a valid serial, B15202130R is not valid (it fails the checksum). The chances of making up several correct bar numbers (without knowing the checksum formula) is close to impossible.
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  4. #14
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    Default 2 Elemetal Employees Plead Guilty "expanding investigation"

    2 Elemetal Employees Plead Guilty "expanding investigation"

    September 6, 2017 7:30AM EST from about.ag

    Yesterday, 2 of the 3 Elemetal (NTR Metals) employees that were indicted for money laundering in March, 2017 plead guilty as part of a plea agreement.

    They face up to 10 years in prison (compared to up to 20 years prior to the plea agreement).

    According to the Miami Herald, "both have agreed to cooperate in the expanding investigation into one of the biggest money-laundering schemes in South Florida history.

    "Court documents state that "Dozens of other individuals and entities both in and out of the United States were involved in the money laundering conspiracy."

    The documents also point out that illegal gold mining is a crime in Peru (legislative Decree 1102, Article 307-A), and that smuggling gold out of Peru is also a crime in Peru (law No. 28008, Chapter 1, Article 1).

    The documents state that Elemetal hired the 3 employees to "buy as much gold as possible in Latin America and the Carribean."

    They state that each Elemetal client would need to be approved by Elemetal's Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliance Officer (well respected Steven Crogan).

    Early in the saga, the Compliance Officer rejected an account expected to bring in $250M annually because of the involvement of someone known by the Compliance Officer to be a "gold money launderer".

    The 3 employees then began opening accounts for the known gold money launderer using front companies. The front companies were "consistently bribing Peruvian customers (SUNAT) officials."

    The records show that Samer Barrage received $1,307,759.37 in wages from Elemetal, and Juan Granda received $466,422.76.

    The Miami Herald article says that prosecutors stated that the illegal gold went to Elemetal Refining (what used to be OPM), which I had assumed, but do not recall having seen stated previously.

    The third defendant, Renato Rodriguez, has chosen to go to trial, rather than sign a plea agreement.
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  5. #15
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    Not really sure what is going on here, but the information I received in an email from them indicates nothing has changed with the employees or management structure, yet they have been bought out and contracted Dillion Gage to manage them for the next five years.


    Provident Metals Announces Acquisition by Private Investor Group

    Allows consumers further expansion of online selection of bullion and coins


    DALLAS, Texas (September 12, 2017) – Provident Metals, an industry-leading provider of international and domestic bullion and IRA-eligible precious metals, today announced their acquisition by a private investment group.

    The sale of Provident Metals, based in north Dallas, Texas, allows the company to further expand its online selection of high-quality bullion and numismatic coins for its customers around the globe.

    “A strategic partnership was formed with a private investment group to help Provident Metals broaden its offerings in the precious metals market,” said Joe Merrick, president of Provident Metals.

    “This acquisition will allow us to enhance our position further as the premier online destination for purchasing precious metals, while remaining focused on exceptional quality and service.”

    The private investment group will use Provident Metals’ existing high-end technology infrastructure to continue to offer the same exceptional service, incredible selection, and outstanding quality that customers around the globe have come to expect. The Company is redesigning and expanding its highly popular Prospector line and Egyptian God series, both expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2017.

    Provident Metals, which will continue to operate under that name, has contracted with Dillon Gage Metals, one of the world’s largest precious metals wholesale firms, for their expertise in inventory management and fulfillment operations.

    This management agreement extends into 2022.
    Last edited by valerb; 19th October 2017 at 01:26.
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  6. #16
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    The following information is being provided because we do not know if Provident Metals is really separated from the Elemetal group as they seem to indicate and Elemetal is showing even more signs of financial stress.

    Better safe than sorry. I can't say, remember the Alamo, but I can say, remember Tulving, remember Bullion Direct and remember Northwest Territorial Mint.

    As long as the Elemetal group is alive, Provident Metals is another potential ticking time bomb..




    Elemetal Refining: Now More Insolvent.

    October 18, 2017 4:30PM EST

    In April, 2017, Elemetal Refining announced that it was insolvent (using different words, of course). They said that they would make 5 payments of 20% each to the refining customers, on April 28, June 15, August 15, October 16, and December 15.

    I had mixed reports on whether or not the June payment had been made, but the June/August payments appear to have been mostly made. In total, "approximately" 60% has been paid down.
    Elemetal recently told refining customers that they are "pleased to report that paydowns will continue, though at a reduced pace."

    I wonder who is pleased by a company reporting that they are having further financial difficulties? One customer reported receiving only a small fraction of what they were owed for the October payment. Elemetal further says that they are developing an updated payment plan, in which they hope to make additional payments within 20-30 days, and have a goal of paying customers in full.
    Last edited by valerb; 19th October 2017 at 01:45.
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  7. #17
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    Elemetal Refining: Yet More Money Troubles

    November 20, 2017 3:25PM EST

    I reported last month that Elemetal Refining was unable to make the October payment, paying a paltry 6% or so of what they were supposed to.
    Today, a customer reported that they received a letter stating that a further payment was made, which appears to be another one of these "tiny" payments. Again they say they have a goal of "paying all Ohio-refinery customers in full."

    At the rate they are paying what they owe, it looks like it would take another 1-3 years for Elemetal to pay back customers in full.
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  8. #18
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    U.S. Indicts 4 Peruvians re: Elemetal Gold Smuggling

    January 10, 2018 5:40PM EST

    The Justice Department wrote yesterday that they have indicted 4 Peruvian citizens that took part in the multi-billion dollar gold smuggling operating that 3 Elemetal a/k/a NTR Metals employees plead guilty to last year.

    They wrote: "On November 16, 2017, Pedro David Perez Miranda, a/k/a “Peter Ferrari,” a/k/a “Peter,” 57, of Lima, Gian Piere Perez Gutierrez, a/k/a “GP,” 33, of Lima, Peter Davis Perez Gutierrez, a/k/a “Peter Jr.,” 33, of Lima, and Jose Estuardo Morales Diaz, a/k/a “Pepe Morales,” 50, of Lima, were charged in a single-count Indictment for their alleged participation in a gold money laundering scheme (U.S. v. Miranda, Case No. 17-cr-20814). Gian Piere Perez Gutierrez and Peter Davis Perez Gutierrez were arrested in connection with this scheme."

    The Justice Department says that the 3 Elemetal employees that plead guilty last year state that they had "conspired to purchase billions of dollars of criminally derived gold ... through Elemetal LLC, a dealer in precious metals ...".
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  9. #19
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    Humm, this is only two of the three that plead guilty


    PRISON

    January 27, 2018 7:00PM EST

    The Miami Herald reported that NTR Metals (Elemetal) employees Samer Barrage and Juan Granda were sentenced to prison on Friday January 19, 2018.

    Barrage was sentenced to nearly 7 years, and Granda was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

    Both were given some credit in their sentencing for assisting federal prosecutors.

    They faced maximum terms of 10 years each. Barrage agreed to pay back $850,000, and Granda agreed to pay back $466,000. It is unclear who would benefit from that money.
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  10. #20
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    Elemetal has been way behind paying customers for the metal they sent in many months ago and promised to pay them for the metal on a scheduled basis and has fallen way behind that schedule. Now they have just been fined $15 million Dollars of which $10 Million is in Gold that was confiscated in Peru and they have already paid $1 million towards the fine which leaves them owing the government another $4 million plus their legal fees, not to mention the creditors who they still owe some unknown amount of money for metal they haven't paid for as yet. As hard as they are trying, can the Elemetal group stay out of bankruptcy and will Provident be part of any such bankruptcy if it should go down. Provident swears they are divorced from the Elemetal group, but a bankruptcy is the only way we will find out for sure, one way or the other. If you are continuing to do business with Provident, I would only do it with a credit card to protect myself from any potential fallout from their Elemetal group association.


    ELEMETAL GUILTY

    March 16, 2018 1:40PM EST

    Elemetal has pleaded guilty to "failing to maintain an anti-money-laundering program to stop billions of dollars in illegally mined and smuggled gold from being exported from South America to Miami for refining in the United States", per an article by the Miami Herald.

    The Assistant U.S. Attorney stated that Elemetal "willfully failed to develop, implement and maintain an [anti-money laundering program] reasonably designed to prevent Elemetal from being used to facilitate money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities."




    Firm behind gold-fueled, Miami-based money-laundering racket fined $15 million


    March 16, 2018 12:31 PM

    A Dallas-based company pleaded guilty Friday to failing to maintain an anti-money-laundering program to stop billions of dollars in illegally mined and smuggled gold from being exported from South America to Miami for refining in the United States.

    In a plea deal, Elemetal LLC now faces a five-year probationary sentence in which it cannot buy precious metals from outside the United States and must pay a fine of $15 million in cash and gold in the agreement with federal prosecutors.

    The company was a central focus of the recent Miami Herald investigative series Dirty Gold, Clean Cash, which exposed the links between South Florida’s gold industry and the ruination of wide swaths of South American rainforest where illegal gold mining flourishes under the control of drug traffickers and other criminal groups.

    Elemetal’s fine in the plea agreement still has to be approved by a federal judge at a May 24 sentencing hearing.

    “No matter what I do, Elemetal cannot withdraw its guilty plea,” U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno told Elemetal’s lawyers in Miami federal court. “Do you understand?”

    Elemetal’s defense attorney, Christopher Pace, who was joined by the company’s general counsel, Trey Gum, acknowledged that the judge will have final say on the joint agreement. They said Elemetal has already paid $1 million toward the fine, and the firm will no longer contest a claim of $10 million worth of gold seized in Peru so that authorities there can keep it. That would leave a balance of $4 million to be paid to the U.S. government.

    If it remains in business — Elemetal was forced to close its main precious-metals refinery in Ohio and was barred from trading gold on bullion markets — the company must show that it can maintain a robust anti-money-laundering program while it is on probation.

    At Friday’s hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco Maderal cited a Bank Secrecy Act law broken by Elemetal, saying the company “willfully failed to develop, implement and maintain an [anti-money-laundering program] reasonably designed to prevent Elemetal from being used to facilitate money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.”

    Elemetal’s guilty plea follows the convictions of a trio of Elemetal’s precious-metals dealers who bought billions in illegally mined and smuggled gold from drug-trafficking organizations based in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia. The three employees — Samer Barrage, 40, Juan Granda, 36, and Renato Rodriguez, 44 — worked for Elemetal’s Miami subsidiary, NTR Metals, and they were sentenced to between six and seven years in prison after pleading guilty to a $3.6 billion money laundering conspiracy last year.

    At their January sentencings, another federal judge, Robert Scola, pointed out that the money-laundering offense was an “extremely serious crime.” Scola emphasized the “harm” of the crime itself, saying their wrongdoing contributed to the deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest and the poisoning of workers and the environment. Miners who work in the gold mines of remote jungles regularly use toxic mercury to extract gold from rock, a process that pollutes waterways and fish and poisons humans.

    Scola declared that their wrongdoing caused “societal damage in South America.”

    Maderal, along with fellow prosecutor Tony Gonzalez, stopped short of charging Elemetal with the money-laundering conspiracy.

    Instead, the prosecutors were able to compel Elemetal’s lawyers and executives to agree to violating an anti-money-laundering law that was adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It requires precious-metals dealers to establish an effective compliance program to prevent the washing of “dirty” gold sold by drug traffickers and other criminals.

    Between August 2012 through November 2016, prosecutors said Elemetal purchased and refined billions of dollars of gold from countries around the world, including from Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Europe, and that its trading activities involved laundering illegally mined gold, narcotics and other criminal proceeds.

    In a statement filed with the company’s plea agreement, Elemetal said it bought gold from hundreds of traders and businesses in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia “without requesting” identification or the source of their gold. Elemetal also purchased gold from “collectors” who tapped into a variety of small, artisanal suppliers whose precious metals could not be traced. Elemetal also purchased gold that was smuggled from Peru into Ecuador and Bolivia without knowing or disclosing the sources, including using the owner of an upscale home decor store in Coral Gables to consign dirty gold deals.

    Internal company emails showed that an Elemetal compliance officer warned the company’s executives and its three NTR Metals dealers early on about buying gold from certain foreign traders, especially a suspected Peruvian drug trafficker who went by the name “Peter Ferrari.” He was linked to a seizure of gold shipments by Peruvian authorities in 2013 and has now been indicted in Miami’s massive money-laundering case.

    In a news release, Elemetal blamed its former NTR employees while admitting its own failures to maintain an effective anti-money-laundering program.

    “Elemetal wholeheartedly condemns the shocking behavior of these former NTR Miami employees in South America,” said the release, issued by Elemetal CEO Bill LeRoy. “Elemetal, however, also accepts full responsibility for its employees, the employees of its subsidiaries, and the failure of its international anti-money-laundering program to prevent the misdeeds of the employees operating in South America.”
    Last edited by valerb; 30th March 2018 at 21:21.
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