Man and Sons Charged with Stealing $18 Million in Mail, Wire Fraud Scheme
A Tennessee man, Larry Bates, and his sons, Robert and Charles, are under investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The men have been indicted for carrying on mail and postal fraud that defrauded more than 300 unsuspecting customers out of $18 million dollars.
Larry Bates was a former Tennessee legislator. He was also the CEO of First American Monetary Consultants, Inc. (FAMC) and of Information Radio Network, Inc. (IRN). FAMC was a financial company that bought, sold, and traded precious metals, primarily in gold and silver coins. IRN was a broadcast radio station that offered listeners advice and information on many topics including politics and world economy. Larry’s son Charles Bates served as executive vice president and news director at IRN and economist at FAMC, while Robert also acted as an economist at FAMC.
From May 2002 through October 2013, the Bates men allegedly advised their customers, primarily Christians and the elderly, to buy coins from FAMC. Because the customers thought that FAMC was a moral and upright company, they did as advised. The Bates men would use IRN as a source of marketing as well, urging listeners to invest in gold and silver coins from FAMC. They counseled their listeners to protect themselves from “Mystery Babylon” which they claimed would be a great economic recession.
Once the customers sent in money orders to purchase coins, or sent their old precious metals in to trade, they allegedly heard little more than false promises. Purportedly, the defendants would only fulfill half a customer’s orders, or neglect them all together. According to the indictment, when customers asked about their purchases, they would receive either false promises or radio silence. It is supposed that the Bates used the money and metals to fund their lifestyles and their two companies.
It is alleged that the fraud was targeted to more than just Tennessee. Some of the customers that were allegedly defrauded were in Texas, Alabama, Kansas, Florida, and many more. The Bates are charged with mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. If they are convicted, they can face up to 20 years’ imprisonment along with up to $1 million dollars for each count.
At Meyer Wilson, we believe that you should not be punished for putting your faith and trust in the wrong people. If you or someone you know is a supposed victim of an investment scheme, give us a call today! We can help you try to recover the money you lost.