Rare coins are being auctioned to help victims of the Utah Ponzi scheme


SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah auction house is expecting big business for a rare coin collection.

Thousands of gold, silver and unique coins are currently being auctioned by Erkelsens & Olson Auctioneers in Salt Lake City.

“You don’t usually do this kind of product in one area at a time,” said Rob Olson, who owns Erklens and Olson.

Auctions are being conducted online rather than in person due to coronovirus concerns and the permission of limited people inside the building at one time.

“It’s weird,” Olsen said. “I mean, when you sell after 45 years with a microphone, and suddenly there’s an epidemic that hits, you basically do a 180 in your business.”

There should be a lot of interest in this collection, not only because of what the coins are, but also where they came from.

The coins were owned by Salt Lake City or Rust Rare Coin.

Two years ago, Rust Rare Coin was investigated by the FBI and Securities Exchange Commission for its owners accused of running ponzi schemes, money laundering and defrauding at least 700 investors of millions of dollars.

Rob Olson, owner of Erkelens & Olson Auctioneers, prepared the coins for auction on Saturday, November 14, 2020 in Salt Lake City. The coins of the Rust Rare Coin Company are being sold to help victims of the Ponzi scheme. Federal prosecutors say the Rast Rare coin was being operated by the family. (Photo: John Wilson, KSL)

“It was one of the nearly $ 200 million Ponzi schemes,” Olson said. “Real estate was involved here, there were quarter horses, I heard more than a hundred quarter horses.”

Federal prosecutors say the Rust family running the store convinced people that they were depositing money to buy and sell silver.

Instead, he is accused of paying other investors and using the money for personal use.

A family member, Dennis Gunderson Rust, 61, has pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years in probation.

Coins are up for auction by Erkelsens & Olson Auctioneers on Saturday, November 14, 2020 in Salt Lake City. Roost Rare Coin Company coins are being sold to help victims of the Ponzi scheme, federal prosecutors say. It is run by the family, which has a rare coin. (Photo: John Wilson, KSL)

A US district judge has also ordered him to pay $ 1.7 million in restitution.

Her ex-husband, Gaylen Rust, and her son, Joshua Rust, also face federal charges. Criminal cases are pending against him, currently with a trial for March 2021. The SEC complaint continues until criminal cases are resolved.

Olson’s company was selected by a federally appointed receiver to auction the items and raise money to repay the victims of the Ponzi scheme.

“All this money goes back to the receiver, who can then distribute it to those who have lost money and actually lost luck,” Olsen said.

The victims probably won’t get everything back, but it’s something.

The auction ends this Wednesday.

Alex cabrero

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