ChristianMoney.com Staff Writers
Update September 5, 2017 - Larry Bates received a 21 year sentence today
Larry Bates, a Christian author and former gold salesman, will be sentenced tomorrow to federal prison for his role in a multi-million dollar gold Ponzi scheme. For each count of the conviction, Bates is facing a potential sentence of 20 years in prison and a potential fine of $250,000.
Press release from the U.S. Justice Department -
Memphis, TN – After a five-week trial, a federal jury found Larry Bates; his two sons, Chuck and Robert Bates; and Kinsey Bates, the wife of Robert Bates, guilty on all counts set forth in an indictment that charged mail and wire fraud and conspiracy. The charges rose out of the defendants running a decade-long Ponzi scheme in the buying and selling of gold and silver coins. The proof at trial showed that the defendants were able to accomplish the fraud through First American Monetary Consultants, a Colorado corporation, which had offices in Memphis, Tennessee and Boulder, Colorado. More than three hundred and sixty victims lost more than twenty-one million dollars due to the defendants’ illegal scheme, which lasted from as early as 2002 through October of 2013.
"Unfortunately, fraud, corruption and embezzlement can occur everywhere, including in the investment world," said Larry Laurenzi, Acting United States Attorney, who prosecuted the case along with Assistant U.S. Attorney David Pritchard. "People need to be mindful of this terrible fact and work hard to protect themselves and their families from those who prey on others, like the Bates family preyed on so many innocent victims. As this case shows, the United States Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners work diligently to expose people responsible for such fraudulent acts, to vigorously prosecute them, and to bring them to justice."
At trial, the proof showed that the defendants promoted their business through a variety of Christian television and radio programs, including the Jim Baker Show and Jewish Voice. Larry Bates, a self-proclaimed doctor in economics, held conferences across the United States, predicting an economic collapse and emphasizing the need to invest in precious metals. Between 2007 and 2013, customers gave more than eighty-seven million dollars to First American Monetary Consultants for the purpose of buying precious metals. During this same period, the proof showed the defendant diverted customers’ monies that were to be used to purchase precious metals to the defendants own use and benefit. Testimony at trial showed that by 2009, the company had more than twenty-six million dollars in unfilled customer orders. Read Full Press Release