Bullion Dealer Hit with Serious Charges; Big Banks Go Largely Unpunished

Robert Leroy Higgins, owner of precious metals dealer Argent Asset Group and the First State Depository (FSD) in Delaware, is in hot water with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

The agency accuses Higgins and his companies of misappropriating $7 million dollars in assets of over 200 clients through what is described as a “fraudulent silver leasing program.”

Regulators thus announced last week they are pursuing a civil enforcement action against Higgins and his companies. And a U.S. District court judge froze their assets.

According to the CFTC’s press release, “The defendants misappropriated other client assets and misled and deceived those clients when they attempted to withdraw their assets or transfer them to another depository.

“In addition, the defendants lied about the insurance coverage FSD maintained and failed to adequately insure its clients’ assets despite representations and guarantees it made to the contrary.”

The CFTC “seeks restitution, disgorgement, civil monetary penalties, permanent trading and registration bans, and a permanent injunction against further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged.”

The allegations are serious and so are the proposed penalties. The courts will decide whether Higgins, Argent Asset Group, and First State Depository are liable – and if they are, what damages he’ll face. If Higgins and his companies are ultimately found liable for cheating silver investors, they will certainly deserve what they get.