RIPLEY – A Ripley woman is suing Lear Capital after she claims it established a fraudulent scheme in order to get West Virginians to invest in precious metals through their company.
Self Directed IRA Services Inc. was also named as a defendant in the suit.
Prior to and during October 2015, Lear called Teresa Evans at her home and place of work and with the intent to induce her to part with her money and made statements that the price of gold was increasing and stated that gold was stable as an investment historically while other investments were not as stable, according to a complaint filed March 31 in Jackson Circuit Court.
Evans claims she had never invested in gold or other metals of any nature or kind, nor was she knowledgeable about the value of gold as an investment, nor did she understand the business of gold valuation, terminology, how it was purchased, sold or held and maintained, and she explained this to Dmitri Aaron Koonce.
The plaintiff told Koonce that Lear would have to explain to her all matters pertaining to investing in gold and silver and he promised to explain to her all the information that she would need to know concerning the purchase, valuation, sale and investment concerning gold, according to the suit.
Evans claims on Oct. 26, 2015, Koonce sent her an e-mail in which he explained the fee that she would be charged if she invested in gold through Lear. Koonce sent two following e-mails on Oct. 27, 2015, and Nov. 2, 2015.
Lear continued to pursue Evans and continued to make her believe that she was going to lose money in stocks or otherwise by the devaluation of the dollar, according to the suit.
Evans claims on March 23, 2016, she relied upon the representations that the defendants had made her and signed a form making Lear the IRA administrator and she consented that Scottrade was permitted to wire $300,000 from her IRA account to SDIRA, which then transferred her money to Lear without direction from the plaintiff and SDIRA failed and refused to provide Evans with any documents or accounting from March 30, 2016, until Oct. 10, 2016.
On April 12, 2016, Lear advised Evans that her metals had been shipped out informed her that the price of silver was up 18 percent from the beginning of the year, according to the suit.
Evans claims after not receiving an accounting statement from Lear or SDIRA by August, she requested that Lear’s employee, Greg Shenon, provide her with one, which he failed and refused to provide and she asked again on Oct. 9.
On Oct. 10, Evans received an e-mail with instructions as to how she could log onto her account and found that it had dropped in value by approximately $100,000 and was only valued at $200,000 without explanation as to why she had lost $100,000, according to the suit.
Evans claims a Lear employee called her and explained to her that she was reading her statement wrong and that Lear had taken all of his fees out up front so that she would receive all over her money on the backend.
During the conversation, Evans requested that Lear send her any document that explained why Lear had to take $100,000 from her account, according to the suit.
Evans claims Lear never disclosed the fees or Lear to convert to themselves upon receiving the money from her IRA account.
Lear’s legal counsel, Jeremy Jason, and customer service representatives in November 2016 claimed that they would not help her, that their agreement was iron-clad and cannot be breached and cannot be broken, that she had signed it and that she was bound to the one-third fee that she had owed, according to the suit.
Evans claims Lear intentionally, knowingly and fraudulently established a scheme and design that was determined would be an iron-clad way to defraud citizens in West Virginia by advertising on the radio and on television about gold, silver and precious metals and that West Virginians should invest in the precious metals by using scare tactics to drive persons like Evans to contact them for information concerning investments.
Evans is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Marvin W. Masters of The Masters Law Firm.
Jackson Circuit Court case number: 17-C-31