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Financial Crimes
03/03/2014

4 indicted in international fraud scheme involving the sale of gold

TAMPA, Fla. – An indictment was unsealed Monday charging four individuals with multiple counts of conspiracy, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and mail and wire fraud. The charges resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Secret Service, the City of London Police and the Spanish National Police.

Naadir Cassim, 38, of Barcelona, Spain, and Orlando; Jon Craig Nelson, 67, of Houston; Michael Skillern, 47, of Houston; and Adriana Maria Camargo, aka Adriana Palomino, 36, of Barcelona; each face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count, 20 years in prison on the money laundering conspiracy count, 20 years in prison for each mail fraud and wire fraud count, and 10 years in prison for each money laundering count. Per the indictment, if convicted, the individuals will forfeit a bank account, a vehicle and investments which are traceable to proceeds of the offense. The defendants also face a monetary judgment for the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.

According to the indictment, from August 2011 through at least February 2014, the defendants and others, engaged in a fraud scheme where they directed and caused the sale of purported, but nonexistent gold ore or gold doré from mines owned or controlled by them, through a company called Own Gold LLC. The conspirators’ victims were located both inside and outside of the United States, including the United Kingdom. To facilitate the scheme, the conspirators recruited, instructed, supported and paid telemarketers to place unsolicited calls to potential and existing victims outside the United States, from boiler rooms. The telemarketers employed high-pressure and misleading sales techniques when promoting the nonexistent gold ore or gold doré. The indictment further alleges that Cassim, Nelson, Skillern, Camargo and others then caused victims to wire their funds from the United Kingdom and elsewhere, to bank accounts controlled by the defendants. The conspirators used the victims' funds to perpetuate the scheme and for their own personal enrichment.

If you invested in gold ore or gold doré through a company called Own Gold LLC, you could be a victim. Please send an email to USAFLM.TPAVW@usa.doj.gov. Reference "Cassim" in the subject line of the email.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.