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Originally published: 2014-03-03 10:54:54
Last modified: 2014-03-03 10:55:59

Boone man convicted in precious metal fraud

by Staff Reports

A Florida jury has convicted a Boone man of operating fraudulent precious metals investment businesses, which hundreds of victims reportedly lost in excess of $25 million. 


Following a five-week trial, the jury found 54-year-old Arthur John Schlecht of Boone, guilty Thursday of conspiracy and wire fraud charges according to court records.


In his sentencing, Schlecht faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to 40 years in prison, plus fines and restitution.


Evidence in the trial showed that Schlecht's three companies offered customers the chance to invest in gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion that would be stored in vaults for them.


According to a press release sent out by the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of Florida, trial testimony revealed the companies did not actually purchase physical metal in the name of their investors and Schlecht spent millions of dollars for cars, maid services, home decorations, landscaping, jewelry, and to make payments to family members.


Four other defendants pleaded guilty to the fraud charges.