HELENA — The Office of the Montana State Auditor. Commissioner of Securities and Insurance has approved over $340,000 in restitution payments to victims of Metals.com. The victims, ranging in age from 60 to 77, received payments of $14,676 to $50,000.
"Victims of securities fraud are often left emotionally and financially devastated. Thanks to the Securities Restitution Fund ─ promoted by this agency ─ and the hard work of our team, we were able to offset losses to protect Montana victims." Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Troy Downing said, "The Securities Restitution Fund has made all the difference in the world for these Montanans. While some states have similar programs, ours uses no taxpayer dollars and is one of the most robust in the nation ─ providing larger awards quickly and with minimal red tape."
In January 2022, the Office of the Montana State Auditor settled with Metals.com over allegations the company manipulated and lied to investors. The settlement allowed the Montana victims, who collectively invested more than $2.9 million in precious metals, to apply to the Montana Securities Restitution Assistance Fund (SRAF). The SRAF is a fund unique to Montana to help victims of securities fraud.
The state awarded payments to all eligible Montana Metals.com victims that applied to the SRAF. Victims who are no longer Montana residents are ineligible to apply. Victims who have not yet applied have two years to do so. The SRAF is funded by fees collected from the securities industry and contributions from bad actors – there is no cost to Montana taxpayers.
"Getting taken advantage of is a stressful time. The people selling precious metals in this scheme were professional scammers who acted like friends." A victim in Anaconda said, "It's easy to get caught up in gold fever when the economy is in bad shape, and you're promised precious metal prices will continue to rise. The ability to recover some losses has relieved a lot of financial stress for me and my loved ones."