Ron Werner, 62, worked in a Sheboygan paint factory for 42 years before he gave his body a break and began enjoying retirement, puttering at home, camping and riding his Harley-Davidson.
His retirement fund was being managed by Transamerica, a typical company-sponsored 401(k).
Then in August 2019 he got a cold call from a guy in Hollywood, California, pitching investment in gold and silver coins through Metals.com.
“He asked a lot about my views, which are conservative. He said he and his company were also very conservative. I talked to him quite a long time,” Werner recalled.
Werner said he’d already been thinking about coins “because of what’s going on with the government, and the world” and the approaching election, “and Biden possibly getting in.”
“I just wanted to put my money in a safe location for a short period.”
So Werner moved about $100,000 out of what he called his pension and into Metals.com. He said things were fine for the first few months. When he needed to sell some of his holdings for monthly income, he got the money and a statement about which of his coins had sold for what prices. The actual coins were kept in a third-party depository vault in Virginia, he said.
Then last fall, he said, when he called the company, he got a recording saying it was no longer in business.
“My stomach fell. It was terrible,” Werner said. Then he read about an FBI raid and a Texas receivership.
Now Werner is among at least 19 Wisconsin investors — and 1,600 nationwide…