Press Release - Colorado Division of Securities joins with CFTC to stop nationwide precious metals IRA, bullion coin scheme that solicited more than $185 million from defrauded senior investors

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September 25, 2020

The Colorado Division of Securities, a division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies  (DORA), announced today that it is part of a consolidated nationwide enforcement action to disrupt a  fraudulent precious metals scheme that has allegedly solicited more than $185 million from seniors and  other investors. 

On Tuesday, September 22, 2020, the Colorado Division of Securities, with the assistance of the  Colorado Attorney General, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and 29 other states, filed  a petition in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas alleging that “had a  reckless disregard for the truth” and that “virtually every one of their … investors … lost the majority  of the funds invested in fraudulently overpriced Precious Metals Bullion.” and its agents have been under regulatory scrutiny for the past two years. Prior to today’s  action, 12 states, including Colorado, have taken separate enforcement actions against the firm and its  sales representatives.

“The defendants allegedly solicited more than $185 million from seniors and other vulnerable investors  nationwide, including over $5 million in Colorado, by touting precious metals at grossly inflated  prices,” Securities Commissioner Tung Chan said. “The defendants appear to have capitalized on  investor fear of market instability and economic uncertainty. Investors suffered substantial losses from  retirement savings by relying on the false representations that appear to have been made by the  defendants and their sales representatives.” 

“ preyed on older Coloradans and others by using their fear of economic uncertainty to  convince them to invest in metals at grossly inflated prices,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser.  “ must be held accountable for the money it took unfairly from Coloradans, and that money  must be returned to those who, especially during a pandemic, cannot afford that loss.” 
“That vulnerable populations were exploited by way of their fears and financial worries makes this  crime particularly contemptible,” said DORA Executive Director Patty Salazar. “The Division of  Securities and Colorado Attorney General’s Office have worked diligently on this case with our partners  in multiple states and at the federal level, and I am thankful that, due to their tenacity, the  perpetrators of this fraud will be brought to justice.”  

The petition names TMTE Inc., also known as, Chase Metals Inc., Chase Metals LLC, Barrick  Capital Inc., Simon Batashvili, Lucas Asher, and Tower Equity LLC. The unregistered Beverly Hills,  California-based firm and its sales representatives are accused of targeting elderly investors through  traditional and social media, providing unregistered investment advisory services designed to “instill  fear in elderly and retirement-aged investors and build trust with investors based on representations of  political or religious affinity,” according to the petition. Investors were advised to liquidate their  holdings at registered investment firms to fund investments in precious metals through self-directed  individual retirement accounts and bullion coins, the petition said.  

The defendants also are accused of failing to disclose, among other things, what and  Barrick Capital Inc. charged investors for their precious metals bullion products and that investors  could lose the majority of their funds immediately upon completing a transaction. The defendants  charged investors prices for gold or silver bullion averaging from 100% to more than 300% the melt value or spot price of that gold or silver bullion. In many cases, the market value of the precious  metals sold to investors was substantially lower than the value of the securities and other retirement  savings investors had liquidated to fund their purchase. 

In 2019, the Colorado Securities Commissioner issued a cease and desist order against Metals. In a  separate action today, Commissioner Chan, with the assistance of the Colorado Attorney General, is  also filing an action against for violating that order.  

Despite these measures, the firm, in new iterations, continued to prey on elderly investors. Today’s  coordinated state and federal action was a result of a multi-state collaboration by members of the  North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), of which the Colorado Division of  Securities is a member, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Office of Cooperative  Enforcement. 

The Colorado Division of Securities encourages investors to come forward if they suspect they have  been targeted by similar precious metals investment schemes. Please contact the Division at (303) 894- 2320 or

The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is  committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our  mission. Visit for more information or call 303-894-7855/toll free 1-800-886-7675.