Ok, so a nice disabled widow in upstate New York got cold-called by a Lake Worth Ponzi outfit selling mostly non-existent "precious metals" and wound up handing over her a chunk of her retirement to these sleaze balls.
Don't you just love America?
After the Ponzi scheme collapsed, the creditors designated a specialist to liquidate the few actual assets of the company, including some precious metals much like those promised but never delivered to the poor widow.
Too bad so sad, says a sympathetic Judge Salter:
There is no bailment implied-in-fact in this case. Although Ms. O’Brien insists that the silver was set aside for her, there is no record evidence to support this contention. There is also no evidence that 1,000 ounces were purchased with her funds or segregated as her separate property. None of the bailment elements exist here.The Judge concludes by lamenting one of Florida's most treasured and historic features -- con artists:
This fraudulent scheme apparently escaped, at least for a time, the attention of the federal and state authorities regulating commodities trading and the exploitation of consumers like Ms. O’Brien. Ponzi schemes seem to recur again and again in South Florida, sometimes involving diamonds, sometimes oil, and in this case, gold, palladium, and silver. The names of the scams seem to be endless permutations of “gold bullion,” “international,” “global,” “diversified,” and “precious.” The common denominator is that the commodities are imaginary, or are the undivided “property” of a host of victims, not any one of them. The circuit court properly authorized the sale of the silver by Mr. Stermer, and at this point Ms. O’Brien can only hope that the process of liquidation will yield some net recovery on her claim.A classic "hold-your-noser," albeit much more eloquently expressed.