CONIFER - A 9Wants to Know investigation has uncovered a local gold dealer with clients across the country who say he scammed them out of more than $1 million. Some of the clients have sued the gold dealer.
Fairplay resident Jim Burg owns Superior Discount Coins, a gold coin company marketed on the Internet.
"I placed a big order that was $325,000, basically my wife's entire IRA," Larry Lane, who lives near Conifer, said. "Now we've spent the last two years checking with Jim [Burg], trying to find out, where is our gold?"
Lane and his wife considered the Burgs their friends.
"We barbecued together at his ranch," Lane said.
"He would send me an account saying, 'You now have 42 coins and your worth $400,000,'" Lane said.
Statements would come frequently showing his investment had increased. Lane says one statement showed his account increased in value to $700,000.
He says the statements kept coming, but the gold coins didn't. Lane says all he got were email excuses from Burg.
"As soon as the money is released, you will be the first to get your money or coins," Burg wrote in an email which Lane provided to 9Wants to Know.
Eugene, Ore. resident Christine Renoux had a similar experience when she and her family say they invested $35,000 with Burg. Renoux says she hasn't received the gold coins Burg promised.
"I've been crying. I've been begging. My oldest child doesn't trust me anymore," Renoux told 9Wants to Know during a Skype interview from her home. "She says, 'How could you do that?'"
9Wants to Know discovered the Renoux and Lane families are only some of the people claiming to be Burg's victims.
Extensive searches of consumer complaint websites, court documents, property records and information 9NEWS obtained from the National Archives reveal people who claim Burg stole their money are located in Colorado, Oregon, Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, California, Illinois and Texas.
Burg's former clients say, in total, he owes them more than $1 million.
Some of Burg's past clients have won lawsuits against him in court, but say Burg doesn't pay them the money ordered by a judge.
THE HIGH LIFE
9Wants to Know uncovered that Burg and his wife, Suzanne, owned a condo overlooking the San Diego Padres ballpark in California, a home in Breckenridge, and a ranch in Fairplay.
But evidence uncovered by 9Wants to Know shows their lifestyle could be falling apart.
When 9Wants to Know went to the ranch, a private investigator said the Burgs were being evicted. There was a notice posted at the driveway to the ranch indicating the property had been sold at a foreclosure auction.
We found his Breckenridge home has also been to the foreclosure auction.
The HOA at his San Diego condo has begun foreclosure proceedings, claiming he did not pay his HOA dues.
9NEWS tracked down Burg in a Breckenridge grocery store parking lot where he said his clients will get their money back.
"Hopefully very soon," Burg said. "I'm not doing an interview."
[Read investigative reporter Jace Larson's blog about tracking down Jim Burg.]
When asked by Investigative Reporter Jace Larson why he won't say how he will repay his former clients, Burg said, "It's none of your business."
Burg repeatedly refused to say what happened to his clients' money.
Burg then got into a top-of-the-line Porsche Turbo S with temporary plates. That model sells new for about $140,000, according to a local Porsche dealer.
Four days after we tried to get answers for Burg's clients, he filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.
"He makes me sick," said Denver attorney Gabriel Schwartz, who represents a couple from Loveland who says Burg owes them $698,000. "You've got a guy who is a con artist, sets up these websites and meets people face-to-face and says, 'Yeah, I'm a Christian-run organization.'"
"You know it's a lifestyle driving the Porches," Schwartz said. "That's what they've come accustomed to so they steal to keep that lifestyle going."
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)