Metals.com and its parent company, TMTE, Inc., along with Chase Metals, LLC, Chase Metals, Inc., Barrick Capital, Inc., and its principals Lucas Asher (aka Lucas Thomas Erb, aka Luke Asher) and Simon Batashvili are alleged to have run a nationwide fraud that brought in more than $185 million in money from customers to buy fraudulently overpriced gold and silver bullion. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), along with 30 state regulators who are members of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), filed an enforcement action against these entities and individuals in federal court.
On September 22, 2020, a federal judge entered a restraining order freezing the defendants’ assets. The federal judge appointed a receiver to take control of Metals.com, Barrick, and a relief defendant named Tower Equity, LLC.
According to the CFTC, the enforcement action against Metals.com and the other defendants is the largest joint filing with state regulators in the history of the CFTC. The CFTC alleges that for at least the past three years, the defendants fraudulently solicited over $185 million in money from customers. More than $140 million was retirement savings. The defendants targeted elderly people, deceiving them and others into purchasing precious metals bullion at inflated prices that were unrelated to prices on the open market. The CFTC alleges that the overcharges were as high as 300 percent over the market price. An announcement from the CFTC about the lawsuit is available here.