AMERICAN FORK (ABC4 News) – Precious metals are a popular investment but police are saying “buyer beware” after an American Fork man recently discovered all that glitters is not gold.
According to a police report, 47-year-old Shaun Goulding of Midvale sold the victim 10 one-ounce bars for $1,000 apiece. The discount price should have been the first red flag since gold is currently trading at over $1,557 dollars an ounce.
The victim told police they looked real in seemingly legitimate packaging but when he tried to resell them he discovered they were fake and basically worthless.
Chris Wright, the Senior Vice President of Cascade Refining in West Valley City, says he sees it all the time.
“You can see people’s reaction in their face just kind of drop,” Wright said.
Wright says Chinese companies sell realistic-looking novelty replicas online.
ABC4 News found some for sale at less than $2 a piece. Wright says they’re just brass plated with gold.
“It’s usually a thin coating of pure gold so thin that it’s not even pennies worth really,” he explained. “They do that just to pass it off and give it that gold shine and that gold luster and color.”
Wright and his employees test every piece that comes through their door for exact weight and density.
“‘Is it magnetic?’ is another great tool,” Wright said. “If it’s magnetic it’s not gold. This is a good strong earth magnet we use all the time for testing purposes and it does not stick or pull that up.”
He also said stay away from an which he calls a “gas station ring.” It’s typically sold there by someone who claims they need money for gas and it’s stamped 18 karats but it’s “fuel’s gold” and worth nothing.
As for Mr. Goulding, American Fork Police had the victim set up another buy where they arrested him and booked him into the Utah County Jail. Wright said these crimes give the precious metals industry a black eye but it’s easy to get taken.
“We’ve done it on occasion. Even the pros get hurt once in a while,” he said with a laugh. “There’s a lot of really convincing stuff out there and the unfortunate thing is that hurts everybody.”
Last Fall Goulding was charged with forgery and theft by deception after police say he sold a fake gold bar to a jewelry store employee in Salt Lake City.
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