Salem – The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) announced today that, in partnership with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and 29 other state regulators, it has reached a settlement with Safeguard Metals LLC and Jeffrey Ikahn in a
federal lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in February 2022, alleged that Safeguard and Ikahn engaged in a $68 million fraudulent scheme that targeted the elderly.
Between October 2017 and July 2021, Safeguard and Ikahn deceived more than 450 customers nationwide into purchasing precious metals through false and misleading statements. This included misrepresenting Safeguard's and Ikahn's credentials and the risk and safety of customer investments in traditional retirement accounts. In Oregon, a total of 11 investors have been identified with total investments of $2.3 million.
Consumer restitution and civil money penalties will be determined in the next phase of the litigation.
“Safeguard Metals engaged in fraudulent and deceptive practices to solicit millions of dollars primarily from elderly and retirement-aged individuals for profit. As a result, customers suffered substantial losses on their retirement investments," DFR Administrator TK Keen said. “This settlement reflects the work DFR continues to do to hold bad actors in the precious metals industry accountable to consumers."
The order also finds that the defendants charged an average markup of 51 percent to 71 percent on the precious metals, which was substantially more than the amounts the defendants represented in Safeguard Metals' customer agreements as “operating margins" of 23 percent to 42 percent. Safeguard Metals steered more than 97 percent of its sales from mostly inexperienced investors into overpriced silver coins that had significantly higher markups than gold coins and generated approximately $66 million for Safeguard.
The defendants agree to the use of the consent order's findings and conclusions in this action and any subsequent actions between the parties, but otherwise, neither admit nor deny the findings.
As part of the court approved settlement, Safeguard and Ikahn agreed to a permanent injunction that enjoins them from violating several federal and state laws, including those prohibiting commodities fraud, securities and investment adviser fraud, and providing unlicensed investment advice. In addition, Ikahn agreed to an order barring him from any position of employment, management, or control of any investment adviser, broker-dealer, or commodity adviser in Oregon. Further he agreed to orders barring him from the securities industry in other states, and to a federal commodity trading ban.
Safeguard and Ikahn also agreed to settle a federal lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleging violations of federal securities laws. DFR thanks the CFTC, other state regulators, and the SEC for their commitment to consumer protection in this action.
DFR put out a
news release in February 2022 announcing the lawsuit.
About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit