Trio to Pay More Than $24.3 Million to Settle FTC Charges

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three promoters of a phony investment scheme that convinced consumers to buy precious metals on credit without informing them of the costs and risks have agreed to pay more the $24.3 million to settle charges against them, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday.

Under the agreements, Harry Tanner, Sam Goldman, and American Precious Metals LLC are permanently banned from marketing any investment opportunities. Tanner's wife, Andrea Tanner, is barred from marketing precious metals investments as well, the FTC said.

The trio also is permanently barred from misrepresenting or failing to disclose terms about any goods or services they offer consumers in the future. They also are barred from disclosing customers' personal information.

The three will pay more than $24.3 million, which includes proceeds from the sale of a Florida condo and other personal property. Goldman will also turn over a rental property to his lender, the FTC said.

Harry and Andrea Tanner, along with their company, American Precious Metals LLC, were charged in May 2011 with violating federal law. Goldman was named a co-defendant in November 2011.

According to the FTC, the defendants promised consumers they would make lots of money quickly on precious metals investments, but they didn't tell them about the hefty fees or significant risks.

The FTC said that consumers often weren't told their investments were financed and that they had received loans for up to 80 percent of the price of their metals. Consumers also weren't told their investments were subject to equity calls that might require them to pay more money to prevent their investments from being liquidated.

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