BRIEF: Palm Beach County gold scammers ordered to pay $5 million in penalties, restitution [The Palm Beach Post, Fla. :: ]
(Palm Beach Post (FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 05--A group of Palm Beach County commodities companies and its two leaders were slapped Wednesday with a court order to pay $5 million in restitution and penalties.
U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks ordered Lloyds Commodities and related companies to pay a penalty of $2.2 million and restitution of $1.4 million. Lloyds owner James Burbage was ordered to pay $846,000, and co-owner Frank Gaudino was told to pay $526,000.
The Palm Beach Post first wrote about Lloyds Commodities' questionable business practices in July 2011. Federal regulators in 2012 filed a civil suit accusing Lloyds, Burbage and Gaudino of fraudulently marketing illegal commodities contracts.
As gold prices hit record highs, Lloyds claimed to be a "leading wholesaler of precious metals," such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium and copper. But one Lloyds customer told the Post in 2011 that his $14,000 next egg dwindled to $7,000 after he deposited his life savings with the company. A Lloyds company in West Palm Beach mysteriously closed, the customer said, only to reopen later with a slightly different name and a Palm Beach Gardens address.
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