Briton who sold $8 million in mining waste jailed in US | Inquirer News
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Briton who sold $8 million in mining waste jailed in US

/ 07:17 AM June 03, 2022
Briton who sold $8 million in mining waste jailed in US

Man behind bars. INQUIRER.net stock photo

Los Angeles, United States — A British fraudster who charged investors more than $8 million for “ancient slag” – worthless mining waste – was jailed in the US on Thursday.

Michael Godfree, 80, sold the tailings from copper mining by the ton, telling victims they contained valuable precious metals.

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The Minerals Acquisition Company he co-founded in California provided “certificates of title” with each purchase of material he dubbed ancient slag, and pledged there would soon be a way of getting the precious metals out of the waste.

But the Department of Justice, which prosecuted Godfree, says no such commercially viable process exists, and – in any case – Godfree did not even own most of the slag he was selling.

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“Godfree was nothing more than a glorified conman,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

“At bottom, [Godfree] was selling nothing more than worthless dirt (that he generally didn’t own) along with a non-existent ‘process’ to extract value from the dirt.

“Unsurprisingly, not a single victim-purchaser has ever seen any return on their purchase.”

US District Judge John A. Kronstadt jailed California-based Godfree for three years, and ordered him to pay more than $8.3 million in restitution.

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TAGS: fraud, Michael Godfree, mining waste, Scammer, UK, US
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