Gold Counterfeiting Goes Viral: 10 Tungsten-Filled Gold Bars Are Discovered In Manhattan

Tyler Durden's picture




 

A few days ago, our report on the discovery of a single 10 oz Tungsten-filled gold bar in Manhattan's jewelry district promptly went viral, as it meant that a tungsten-based, gold-counterfeiting operation, previously isolated solely to the UK and Europe, had crossed the Atlantic. The good news was that the counterfeiting case was isolated to just one 10 oz bar. This morning, the NYPost reports that as had been expected, in the aftermath of the realization that the sanctity of the gold inventory on 47th Street just off Fifth Avenue has been polluted, and dealers promptly check the purity of their gold, at least ten more fake 10-ounce "gold bars" filled with Tungsten has been discovered.

The Post has learned as many as 10 fake gold bars — made up mostly of relatively worthless tungsten — were sold recently to unsuspecting dealers in Manhattan’s Midtown Diamond District.

 

The 10-oz. gold bars are hugely popular with Main Street investors, and it is not known how many of the fake gold bars were sold to dealers — or if any fake bars were purchased by the public.

As is to be expected, the Post story is weak on details: after all, any dealer who admits to having allowed Tungsten to enter his or her inventory can kiss their retail business goodbye, as customers will avoid said Tungsten outlet like the plague, for the simple reason that suddenly counterparty risk has migrated from Wall Street to the Diamond District. The one named dealer is the same one who already made an appearance in the previous story on Tungsten in gold's clothing.

One gold dealer discovered that four of the 3-inch-by-1-inch gold bars he bought — worth about $72,000 retail — were counterfeit.

 

“It has the entire street on edge,” said Ibrahim Fadl, 62, who has been the owner of Express Metal Refining, a Midtown gold-refinery business, for the last 11 years. “I and the others on the street work off of trust; now that trust is strained.”

 

Fadl, a Columbia University graduate with a master’s degree in chemical engineering, and who has more than 40 years in the industry, purchased the four fake bars from a well-known Russian salesman with whom he has done business.

Ah yes, those pesky Russians: always happy to do the Fed's bidding, because who really gains from the loss of confidence in physical gold?

Fadl became suspicious when he offered the salesman a deep discount for the investment-grade gold bars and he quickly accepted it, a source tells The Post.

 

Fadl said he did his due diligence “by X-raying the bars to ascertain the purity of the gold and weighing the bars, and the Swiss markings were perfect.”

 

Tungsten is an industrial metal that weighs nearly the same as gold but costs a little over $1 an ounce. Gold closed Friday at $1,774.80 an ounce.

We wish Fadl all the best in his liquidation sale. Others, for logical reasons, are far less willing to step forward:

A second 47th Street refiner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was burned recently when he bought six gold bars that turned out to be mostly tungsten, with just a gold veneer. He would not comment, though, on who sold him the bogus bars.

The counterfeiting so far appears to have impacted solely PAMP (Produits Artistiques Métaux Précieux ) gold bars, madeby MTB, whose CEO can hardly be too happy that some "Russian" has made it a life mission to destroy the credibility of any gold stamped with the PAMP stamp.

Raymond Nassim, CEO of Manfra, Tordell & Brookes, the American arm of the Swiss firm that created the original gold bars — with their serial number and purity rating stamped clearly into them — said he reported the situation to the US Secret Service, whose jurisdiction covers the counterfeiting of gold bars.

 

He said his company “is supporting and cooperating with authorities any way we can.”

 

Nassim thought the culprit must be a professionally trained jeweler to have pulled off the caper.

 

“The forger had to slice the original bar along the side, hollow out the gold and insert the tungsten ingot, and then reseal and polish the bar, Nassim said.

The case of gold counterfeiting has already taken NYC by storm:

At an industry dinner Thursday night hosted by Comex, the New York-based metals exchange, the room was abuzz with talk about the bogus gold bars, according to Fadl.

Which was also to be expected. What is also to be expected is that as more and more stories of Tungsten making it into broader gold circulation, that retail sales of physical gold will certainly be impaired as end consumers become far more cautious about what they buy.

And while we await more information, especially from the Secret Service, who is "on top" of this case, which we assume implies that gold is after all money, we leave readers with our conclusion from Tuesday: "with false flags rampant these days, we would not be surprised if this is merely yet another attempt to discredit gold, this time physical, as an undilutable medium of warehousing wealth. So buyer beware: in a time when everyone is broke, triple check before exchanging one store of wealth for another."

For those curious what a fake 10oz bar looks like, here it is again:

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Sun, 09/23/2012 - 12:27 | 2822097 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

I'm seriously starting to think it's a rather large operation, like a mint or clearing house that is doing this. Has anyone tracked the deposit receipt's for these bars yet?

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 12:30 | 2822110 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

I am amazed that this hasn't been reported yet.  Would seem to be a rather serious issue, especially for a PM warehouse/bank/supplier.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 12:36 | 2822135 AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

That's just great! Now I have to go scuba diving off the coast of Bimini to try and recover and check the gold I "lost" while I was transporting it from my bank in Nassau to Miami.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 13:10 | 2822253 Nothing To See Here
Nothing To See Here's picture

Meanwhile, zombie nation still thinks that the old crazy uncle Ron Paul is a lunatic for wanting to audit Fort Knox.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 13:26 | 2822296 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

meh, first rule of gold I learned was to buy nothing over an ounce, and to buy eagles because ripping off the us mint carries heavier penalties.  

buy american! ... until they find a fake eagle anyway.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 13:31 | 2822314 markmotive
markmotive's picture

Diversify. Hold some physical. Hold some ETFs that own physical. Hold some gold miners.

  • ETFS Physical Asian Gold Shares (AGOL) – stored in Singapore
  • ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (SGOL) – stored in Switzerland

http://www.planbeconomics.com/2011/09/09/the-right-way-to-own-gold/

Thoughts?

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 13:39 | 2822334 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

Hold physical gold.  Hold physical silver.  Lose it good.

I don't trust the Swiss to hold my goods anymore than I can swim there.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 13:48 | 2822350 Troll Magnet
Troll Magnet's picture

why don't they just put gensler/chilton on the case?

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 14:12 | 2822417 Temporalist
Sun, 09/23/2012 - 14:38 | 2822470 Divided States ...
Divided States of America's picture

Good news to those who own gold coins/bars that were produced decades ago. God knows how much of these 'gold' bars are in the open market. Thus another reason to buy gold COINS and not gold BARS since theres less incentive to put tungsten in an one ounce coin.

Its just amazing what is going on. We have Gold ETFs who are supposed backed fully by physical gold....but isnt. Lets just say its NAV is backed by 50% of physical gold, are those bars 100% gold or 90% tungten filled? I would assume its the latter...which means that these ETFs are backed by 5% of actual gold holdings...and 45% tungsten....GLD should be renamed TGN.

Btw, the futures price in 'gold' on the market is correct at 1,780 per ounce...that is 1,780 USD for 0.1 ounce of gold and 0.9 ounce of tungsten...so the true spot price of gold is actually 17,800 USD per ounce.

 

 

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 14:54 | 2822501 mjcOH1
mjcOH1's picture

"Good news to those who own gold coins/bars that were produced decades ago. God knows how much of these 'gold' bars are in the open market. Thus another reason to buy gold COINS and not gold BARS since theres less incentive to put tungsten in an one ounce coin."

 

Because gold bars produced decades ago are harder to hollow out and fill......

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 18:42 | 2822918 Oracle of Kypseli
Oracle of Kypseli's picture

A friend told me that some of his gold maples sound funny when he drops them on the counter and he bought them from a top five dealer. He wil check them on Monday. Anyone has an idea what to do if they are indeed fake? He has 10 of them. 

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 19:12 | 2822970 DosZap
DosZap's picture

A friend told me that some of his gold maples sound funny when he drops them on the counter and he bought them from a top five dealer. He wil check them on Monday. Anyone has an idea what to do if they are indeed fake? He has 10 of them.

 

Depends on what he is comparing FUNNY to.

Does he have others that were bought at a different time, and do they have a different sound from this lot?.

Or is he comparing them to Eagles,Krugs,etc, that have other metals in them?.

Mapes are at min .999, or 999.9,99999.

Eags and Krugs are 91.6xxxx.

I would have him take them back where he purchased them, for checks, and if they are not real, time for a refund, and or a lawsuit.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 19:19 | 2822975 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

Maybe JPM is taking the manipulation to a whole new level?  They rehypothicate the creamy center.

Of course the vault at Ft. Knox hasn't been inspected or audited since the 1950's, who knows how much tungsten is stored there?

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 19:48 | 2823027 CompassionateFascist
CompassionateFascist's picture

There is no tungsten in Ft. Knox. Or anything else.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 19:56 | 2823039 12ToothAssassin
12ToothAssassin's picture

This, yet paper gold is still perfectly legal... Guess it depends if TPTB support the end result or not I guess.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 22:55 | 2823320 dryam
dryam's picture

My instincts tell me TPTB have planted this story in order to start casting doubt about whether people can trust gold.  It's the perfect thing to do when the money printing is starting to go exponential & TPTB don't ever want for there to be anything close to a critical mass to start losing faith in fiat. 

This story just doesn't add up.  It doesn't even come close to passing the smell test.

 

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 01:24 | 2823488 0z
0z's picture

I don't trust the Swiss to hold my goods anymore than I can swim there.

Well, let me tell you: if secure vaults in Switzerland, Singapore, Monacco and the like are compromised, your pile of gold wont be worth their weight in dry ammunition. You're talking Mad Max scenario, where keeping yourself alive will be your full time job. Just reminding you.

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 06:30 | 2823658 Badabing
Badabing's picture

I looked at the pictures of the tungsten filled 10oz bar found in Manhattan and if the bar was hollowed out it would have had mill marks on the inside. We can clearly see no mill marks in the picture with a thin layer peeled back! In fact the inner side has taken on the texture of the tungsten core. Also the edge is peeled back and the inside was not polished but a seam is not visible.

http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2012...

The bar is layered in 9999 that’s gold soft enough to mark with your teeth when bitten, how the fuck you going to chuck up that soft a metal with out making marks and milling out to 1/16th walls?

The point is these counterfeits are made by very skilled and desperate bankers.

Do you think that’s air you’re breathing?

Do you think the Swiss PAMP bars where picked to counterfeit just coincidence?

The Swiss have fucked up big time, many will see jail time because the clients they fucked by selling allocated gold are no small fish. The fake gold was made to buy time. That’s all the fucking banks do now is buy time. The end is drawing near prepare yourselves!

 

Fucking banks!

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 07:14 | 2823698 Badabing
Badabing's picture

And there’s more, these are the same photos from when the story first broke stating one bar existed and yet we see two different bar  #s, The top two photos have #039388 and the bottom is #038892. The second photo down has a horn of plenty and is drilled in a different spot than the photo on the bottom and if you look in the upper right corner you see a part of an image that does not belong to the horn of plenty. So more than one bar existed when the story first broke! We are being duped by false reporting. This is bigger than you think!  

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 01:30 | 2823492 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

Exactly.

Tungsten would imply they have respect for the citizenry.

Debt Money tyranny

http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/4638354/debtmoneytyranny-4-pdf-110k?tr=77

Spread the word...

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 19:51 | 2823029 ZaphodBeeblebrox
ZaphodBeeblebrox's picture

For future purchasing, the Fisch Instrument is the way to go. 

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 20:21 | 2823081 Oracle of Kypseli
Oracle of Kypseli's picture

But the brochure claims it can detect most metals. I guess that means not all.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 21:58 | 2823251 Mad Max
Mad Max's picture

A Fisch tester will NOT detect a really good tungsten fake.  So far the only options are destructive testing (cutting/drilling it open) or an ultrasonic tester.  The latter should now be in use by all reputable major coin/bullion dealers.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 18:46 | 2822933 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

Read this story for a real bone chiller.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/02/business/la-fi-gold-bars-20120803

Going into the Fed gold audit, this article says the Fed only has 423 tons of US gold.  If it is true, and FT Knox still has any gold, the US only has 5000 tons now.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 23:11 | 2823354 TwoShortPlanks
TwoShortPlanks's picture

MESSAGE TO ERIC SPROTT: Dude, that 2,500 Tons annually you can't account for, think 10oz bars!

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 19:10 | 2822967 toady
toady's picture

I wonder how many hundreds of tons that the Chinese recently bought are 90% tungsten?

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 20:03 | 2823046 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Scary thought toady. I wondered what was going to happen to all the tungsten when the last GE incandescent bulb plant closed in the US. Guess they found a use for it!

Miffed:-)

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 20:24 | 2823085 Oleander
Oleander's picture

Should Mr Chavez check all that gold he repatriated?

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 08:21 | 2823772 earnulf
earnulf's picture

If he hasn't already, he better get cracking, there are reparations to be had!

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 22:35 | 2823295 Pairadimes
Pairadimes's picture

The Chinese manufacture gold-plated tungsten on an industrial scale. I think they know that trick.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 20:47 | 2823122 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

zoggl said:

China-Gold:

http://www.tungsten-alloy.com/gold-plated-tungsten-alloy-bar.html

From the page above: "Here we declare: Please do not use our gold-plated tungsten alloy bar and tungsten alloy golden bar for any illegal purpose."

http://www.tungsten-alloy.com/Gold-plated-Application.htm

...and from the above page: "Chinatungsten Online (Xiamen) Manu.&Sales Corp. is a very professional and serious company, specializing in manufacturing and selling tungsten related products for more than two decades. Our gold-plated tungsten alloy products are only for souvenir and decoration purpose."

Some more selected comedy:

"Detecting a high-quality tungsten fake gold bar would be extremely difficult. It would likely require significant and material alterations to the bar being tested and this would negatively affect the marketability if its hallmark veracity were vindicated. Some applications require the tungsten to be fake gold. The main reasons for tungsten fake gold bar are to protect the wire from corrosion or to solder it to other metals."

"Also tungsten fake gold saves the energy and poses no pollution threat to the environment and thus to achieve a sustainable development."

(both from http://www.tungsten-alloy.com/tungsten-alloy-fake-gold-bar.html )

"Owning to its excellent properties of tungsten such as high density with small volume, high melting point, excellent hardness, superior wearing resistance, high ultimate tensile strength, high ductility, tungsten fake gold product always be used such as darts, golf club, fishing weight, ballast in yacht, racing car, and aircraft; Also because of its properties like high temperature resistance, low vapor pressure, nuisance free, non-toxic and environmental friendly, good corrosion resistance, wonderful shock resistance, tungsten fake gold products can also used as heat sinks, crankshaft, counterweight in oil drill, mine exploitation and so on."

(from http://www.tungsten-alloy.com/tungsten-alloy-fake-gold.html )

ROFRMFUSCAO!!!!

(rorring on froor raughing my fucking US citizenism ass off!!!!)

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 16:37 | 2822647 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

In all likelihood the dealers were offered the gold at a deep discount from sources they knew to be shady, with the expectation that the gold was hot. That was the MO for the mysterious gold forgery of Brink-MATs numbered bars:

http://www.nytimes.com/1983/12/22/world/austrians-seize-false-gold-tied-to-london-bullion-theft.html

Of course, this is also the same MO as when fake gold chains are sold on the street. The buyers think they are getting a great deal on gold of questionable provenance.

http://www.news10.net/news/article/145253/2/Jewelers-pawn-shops-see-more-customers-trading-in-fake-gold

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 17:07 | 2822732 JohnKozac
JohnKozac's picture

Something's not kosher about Mr Mohammed's story.

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 00:01 | 2823425 Overfed
Overfed's picture

It's not easy to cheat an honest man.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 14:48 | 2822471 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

I'm guessing it was ANYTHING except for jews involved in a gold counterfeitting ring... They're honest beyond reproach (based opon their thousands of years of [peculiarly 'special' & dedicated] experience & ZEAL towards administrating & stewarding fiat currencies for the benefit of ALL mankind [with no regards whatsoever towards personal profit])...

My 'knee jerk' reaction here would be to to blame it on the Iranians...

Edit: Oh ~ I got an immediate JUNK... It must mean that somebody disagrees with that heartfelt & honest portrayal...

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 17:05 | 2822727 CompassionateFascist
CompassionateFascist's picture

Anytime the MSM says "Russian", as in "Russian Mafia"...just substitute the "J" word. You have, in fact, never dealt with a Jew until you have dealt with a Russian Jew. Make sure your fillings are in solid, and the cow is firmly tethered.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 21:34 | 2823212 MartialLawIsUponUs
MartialLawIsUponUs's picture

Plz take your antisemitism somewhere else

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 00:15 | 2823443 drexlraw
drexlraw's picture

russian joos are semitic?

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 01:47 | 2823504 European American
European American's picture

The Truth is Anti-Semitic

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 14:12 | 2822418 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

I think you missed the point, mark.  lack of counterparty risk only happens if you are holding your own gold.  Otherwise it is just another digital promise, and none of the miners or ETF will actually send you your gold if you ask for it, except maybe sprott.  

If I may rant, holding physical gold says to the TPTB "Fuck off, I'm taking my ball and going home.  You will not make easy money off my hard earned money by holding it in your banks.  You will not entice me to pay tomorrow for a hamburger today via low interest rates.  Take your credit and your status whoring culture and get fucked".  And by the way, If you have a mortgage, a credit card, a car loan, or anything on terms...  you ARE the problem.  You can't bitch about a system you wilingly take part in.   If there was no mortages, houses would be cheaper.  If there were no student loans, college would be cheaper.  This applies to EVERYTHING.  

Despite what our leaders tell us, if you'd like to do your part for your country, keep your money outside of the banks and buy only what you can afford.   Revolution is simple abstinence.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 14:44 | 2822480 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

+10 "You can have my answer now, Senator."

"Revolution is simple abstinence."  Well said.  Posting to FB right now, ironically.

 

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 16:50 | 2822693 Offthebeach
Offthebeach's picture

February, 2013, President Obama introduces Protect America Anti-Galt and Financial Terrorism Act.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 17:39 | 2822812 Umh
Umh's picture

Well then; you should act now, before it's a crime.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 20:16 | 2823069 Raymond Reason
Raymond Reason's picture

SIMPLE abstinence???? Hahahaha   Who do you know who abstains from anything anymore?  Very few, i imagine. 

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 14:48 | 2822487 odatruf
odatruf's picture

BK - I agree with you for the most part, except that using some of the financial instruments of TPTB can benefit a savvy person under the right circumstances.

I bought my house 2+ years ago with 100% cash. Paid in full and got the physical deed.  I then opened a line of credit at a local community bank on the equity up to 80% of its value.  To do this, it costs me a $50 per year annual fee. I've taken cash not quite equal to 70% of the available equity and bought a two family house nearby, that I invested in some paint and small fix up projects on and have now rented both sides to some nice families. Their rent covers the equity line cost, plus all other expenses of the two family plus puts $500 per month in my pocket.  I've since applied for another equity line on the two family, have been approved and am now looking for another suitable property to buy. I know that I can not roll on like this forever because there is a limit to the lines of credit I will get as a result of my income to loan ratio going up each time, but I figure I can probably do two more like the first one or one larger one before I hit that max.

The key is / was having the cash to buy the first place because I avoid thousands in transaction costs from a traditional mortgage and closing. Since I am paying cash, I am not forced to buy anything I don't want as far as title insurance, etc. And then I use cash from the line of credit to buy the next place and again don't have any transactions costs but the line's annul fee.

I do the same thing with credit cards.  I have a zero fee one that I pay off each month and don't ever pay a dime in finance charges. I recognize that the merchants pay a fee to he banks when I use it, but mostly I do pay cash at local places and use the cards online or at chain stores. That part isn't perfect, but the benefit is positive to me.

 

 

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 15:04 | 2822521 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

using credit wisely and not using credit are two different things.  you have balanced, intelligent approach, but you are stil feeding the beast and lining the pockets of bankers.  lending money at interest is usury.  I'm not a religious person but I think its telling that all major relgions in their pure form do not allow it.

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 15:11 | 2822536 odatruf
odatruf's picture

Without question, they are different things, as you say.

I do try to not feed the beast where I can, but if I get more from the exchange I am going to at least consider it. While I might want to be more absolute about it, I can't cut off my nose to spite my face on this. I am already self employed as it is, and if I can add a little more to my passive income, then I will be insluated as much as I can be against a lot of the events on the risk horizon.

 

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 15:35 | 2822577 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

nobody's hands are completely clean, I only stopped feeding the beast in '09.  and while lending money does involve risk and capital, I just don't think it's a legitimate business, the romans thought the same thing which is why only the jews were permitted to engage in it (talk about a plan that backfired).  

Banks lobby Congress, who in turn draft laws that benefit the banks.  And like suckers, we finance the whole thing.  We can choose to keep doing so or we can accept the consequences of not using credit, even if just for a few years, and bring these bastards down.   It's entirely possible.

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