More gold fraud likely as economy swoons – US agents

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Investigators expect to  uncover more fraud involving gold in a recession that has  already exposed several Ponzi schemes and other crimes, law  enforcement officials with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service  said on Thursday. Agents with the federal agency have been working with the  FBI, U.S. prosecutors and other investigators on a series of  scams from Ponzi schemes in financial investments and oil  futures to gold coins all over the United States.  

“It’s the same scam but they are just selling different  products,” Ronald Verrochio, Postal Inspector in Charge of the  New York division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service  (USPIS), said in an interview. He spoke to Reuters at a seminar marking national consumer  protection week to warn the public about being bilked by  seemingly attractive investments. 
 
“A lot of these scammers develop their scams following  current economic trends and we’re bracing to see gold being  used as a carrot,” USPIS spokesman Al Weissmann told the  seminar, which was attended by government agents, prosecutors,  attorneys and victims of fraud.The price of gold <XAU=> hit an 11-month high above $1,000  an ounce on Feb. 20, just below a record of $1,030.80 reached a  year ago as investors sought a safe haven from financial market  turmoil. Spot gold was trading at $927.90 on Thursday. New York division agents have helped uncover various scams  involving selling unwitting investors gold coins, which turn  out to be a fraction of their purported worth. Postal inspectors investigate mail fraud, enforcing more  than 200 U.S. federal laws that pertain to the mail. They  investigate corporate and securities fraud cases when mail is  suspected of being used to commit a crime.

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