A man from Glasgow placed on FBI’s ‘most wanted’ list
James Alexander Ward, 65 has been on the run for six years after being accused of ripping off victims in a precious metals fraud scheme in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Ward, also uses the name Jamie, regularly dyes his red hair and uses aliases. He is known to travel to Mexico, Canada, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The FBI alleges that Ward earned $400,000 via bogus deals involving gold, silver and platinum from at least 12 investors. Ward is accused of violating strict US commodities, law, along with his business partner Nathanial Walker, in 2011.
When caught and brought to justice, Ward will be forced to pay millions of pounds in asset forfeiture and civil penalties.
Investigators allege when suspicious customers began questioning him about their investments, Ward emptied the bank accounts of his firm Kastle & Hawke and ran off.
Ward and Walker allegedly told prospective customers they could buy precious metals using loans, allowing them to purchase more than they could afford.
It is understood they used “high pressure” boiler-room sales tactics to target retirees who flock to Florida for the sun, sea and golf. Court papers allege Ward took £350,000 from at least a dozen victims between 2007 and 2010.
Customers were told they only had to pay part of the loans, with the reassurance that by the time they came to sell their gold and silver, prices would have increased substantially more than interest rates.
However, the bullion, which was supposed to be held in specially guarded vaults, never existed and victims were left facing huge interest rates and fees.
Court documents reveal Ward allegedly told desperate customers a series of lies, claiming “problems in London” were making trading in silver difficult.
When one customer demanded Ward sell the 2,500 ounces of silver allegedly in this account and return equity of around £20,000, the victim was given excuse after excuse and charged interest.
Another victim wanted Ward to sell £30,000-worth of palladium. However, Ward is said to have lied, claiming “rogue agents in London” made it “impossible” to sell palladium.
Before investigators could seize victims’ funds, official documents allege Ward refused to answer questions and emptied bank accounts.
Prosecution papers detail how Ward told those he duped that their gold, silver and platinum was being guarded at a secure depository in Delaware.
IYE Global find this type of deceit is common in cases such as this. If you’ve invested in anything and the person running the investment is making similar excuses you need to be reporting the facts to the authorities.
The US Government has recently pledged to crack down on scammers who operate similar schemes netting unscrupulous billions.
The Commodities Futures Trading Commission has targeted and shut down hundreds of firms offering similar deals. One such firm lost around £300 million of victims’ money.
The US has strict futures trading laws and strict rules over high-pressure telemarketing sales.
In 2007, Ward and Walker were sanctioned by the National Futures Association over high-pressure sales tactics while working for a Florida finance firm.
In 2011, Ward’s firm Kastle & Hawke had its accounts frozen by a court order which also prevented documents being destroyed.
At IYE Global, our aim is to ensure people do not fall victim to fraudulent investments in the first instance. We are happy to discuss and fully investigate any potential investment and provide clear, simple to follow advice on the legitimacy of a proposed investment along with the people associated with it. If you’d like to undertake comprehensive due diligence to ensure the investment you’re considering is genuine, please call us on: +44 (0)20 8914 7923 or use our contact form on the IYE Global website.