Edmonton fraudsters allegedly turn copper into gold
Police say the fake gold bars are actually copper bars plated with gold; appear authentic
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About once a month, someone comes into Sara Patterson-Robert’s store trying to hawk fake gold.
“Usually I can tell really quick whether or not they know that it’s fake and they’re trying to rip me off, because they’ll make a face when I say I have to test it, or they’ll grab it and run,” said the manager of Edmonton Gold, a shop that buys and sells precious metals.
“Occasionally the person trying to sell it to me was ripped off, because they are just devastated when they’re told it’s fake.”
Indeed, some Edmontonians got a painful reminder Monday that not all that glitters is gold.
Police say about 20 merchants and individuals in the city have been swindled into buying bars of fake gold for $300 to $800 each.
Their actual value? Less than one dollar apiece.
“It’s a significant loss of money for them,” said Edmonton Police Service Const. Robert Wellon, with the criminal investigation section.
Police found the bars were covered in real gold but made from 94 to 96 per cent copper after an investigation, following a similar scam that was uncovered in Winnipeg last month.
They recovered the bars which combined had a total of 220 grams of gold, which they peg at a total market value of $10,000.
Patterson-Robert offers to test every piece of gold she sells in front of the customer, and said no one should buy from someone who isn’t able to do that.
Her customers range from those just looking to buy low and sell high, to those who think the financial system is on verge of collapse.
“There’s a lot of people who believe that we’re going to be going back to a gold-based system – they think that regular money isn’t going to be worth anything so they’d rather have gold in their hands,” Patterson-Robert said.
Police are asking anyone with information about the counterfeit gold to come forward.