Today, customers of renowned “Christian” radio host and financial advisor Larry Bates filed a law suit in federal court in Tennessee seeking $80 million in damages from his pursuit of fraud, conspiracy and racketeering in how he has handled their orders for precious metals.
Of course, regular readers of Unreported World News understand that Bates and his Memphis-based company, First American Monetary Consultants (FAMC), are the financial predators whom we have been battling for more than two years. A local mid-South firm had partnered with a prominent Michigan firm to pursue this claim on behalf of claimants across the country. The filing of this suit represents not only a huge ratcheting up of the secular pressure on Bates and FAMC to cease and desist in their reprehensible business practices but also the most significant secular recognition yet of the massive deceit he has been carrying out against his customers.
Two former customers are named plaintiffs in the suit, and more than two dozen other individuals from across the United States are covered as victims. One of the plaintiffs, Damian Orlowski, is familiar to our readers because we shared his story of his dealings with FAMC a couple of years ago. Now, the Chicago man has courageously come out front in this lawsuit.
FAMC is among the most prominent precious-metals dealers in the United States, “Christian” or secular, frequently cited by the big players in the trade, such as Lear and Goldline, as a significant competitor. That is one reason Bates has continued to pursue such shady business practices with impunity even while we and dozens of his customers have been attempting to get him to stop.
Now, very capable new advocates seek the same aims as we do. The firms representing Orlowski et al. include the law offices of “super lawyers,” Gerard V. Mantese of Mantese Honigman Possman and Williamson, P.C, and J. Houston Gordon. Mantese, a complex business and commercial litigator, has been named repeatedly in Best Lawyers in America. Respected Tennessee “super lawyer” for plaintiffs, J. Houston Gordon has made millions doing personal-injury work during his 40-year career. He also is former chair of the Democratic Party in the state and ran for Senate against Republican Fred Thompson in 1996.
As we have reported to you over the last couple of years, the named plaintiffs and other members of the proposed class were duped by Bates for a total of several hundred thousand dollars because they purchased gold, silver and other precious metals from FAMC based on his appeal to their Christian beliefs, then saw Bates and FAMC keep their money without providing the metals they had purchased until months later. In some cases, Bates sold them inferior products to what they had ordered; in others, he filled part of the order and kept the remaining funds.
Bates’ business practices have been especially reprehensible because he has targeted widows and other elderly asset owners who are devout Christians, using seminars at churches, direct mailings, radio and television interviews and the internet to entice them to purchase precious metals with “end-times” warnings and an appeal to mentions of gold and silver in the Bible.
And while we at Unreported World News share much of Bates’ purported theology concerning the importance of acquiring precious metals, dealing with God’s Money instead of man’s debt-money system, and have our own prophetic take on the end times, we do not in any way agree with how he and FAMC do business.
In fact, as many readers will recall, we – with the Lord’s help – have been largely responsible for getting Bates on the radar not only of personal-injury lawyers but also of journalists in Texas and Tennessee who have reported on his practices, and of regulators in both states who have been checking him out.
Bates’ customers have been outraged particularly because a major part of his positioning has been to tout FAMC’s ability to “move millions of dollars in a matter of minutes with settlement in 48 hours in the currency of your choice,” as one advertisement put it.
Instead, while garnering payments from clients within minutes, hours or days of their orders, many of Bates’ shipments have taken extra weeks and even many months beyond what is considered reasonable in the industry. And when FAMC has finally fulfilled the orders, often the company has substituted items – such as heavy silver bars for silver coins – that are less liquid and even less valuable than what the client ordered.
Another egregiously unethical aspect of FAMC’s practices has been to justify its lack of paying interest on customer funds it has held by alleging it wouldn’t be “a Christian thing to do.” In response to complaints, Bates has stated that he sells metals on a “no-whine” basis – meaning that customers shouldn’t criticize FAMC’s practices even when the firm has held their life savings for months, or years, without fulfilling their precious-metals purposes.
This lawsuit is case No. 1:11-cv-01396.