Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Secretary Michael Watson, Attorney General Lynn Fitch, CFTC, 29 State Regulators Reach Settlement with Safeguard Metals in $68 Million Fraud Targeting Elderly Adults

JACKSON, Miss – Secretary of State Michael Watson and Attorney General Fitch announced today, in partnership with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and 29 other state regulators, the parties have reached a settlement with precious metals dealer Safeguard Metals, LLC and Jeffrey Ikahn in a federal lawsuit filed in February 2022, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The lawsuit alleged Safeguard and Ikahn engaged in a $68 million fraudulent scheme which targeted the elderly.

In Mississippi, six investors were defrauded out of nearly $892,000 in the execution of this national scheme.

A key finding in the Consent Order is between October 2017 and July 2021, Safeguard and Ikahn deceived more than 450 customers nationwide into purchasing precious metals through false and misleading statements, including misrepresenting Safeguard’s and Ikahn’s credentials and the risk and safety of customer investments in traditional retirement accounts.

"Mississippians should be able to invest their hard-earned money without worry,” said Secretary Michael Watson. “I am incredibly proud of our Securities team for being an integral part of this enforcement action and for taking action on behalf of the people of this state. Our office will continue to work to protect all Mississippians."

As part of the court approved settlement, Safeguard and Ikahn agreed to a permanent injunction which enjoins them from violating several federal and state laws including laws prohibiting commodities fraud, securities and investment adviser fraud, and providing unlicensed investment advice.

“These seniors had worked a lifetime with the hope of living comfortably in their retirement and found themselves the target of scam artists,” said General Fitch. “This kind of exploitation will not be tolerated in Mississippi.  The Attorney General’s Office is proud to work with Secretary Watson and his team to protect Mississippi seniors and other investors.”

In addition, Ikahn agreed to an order barring him from any position of employment, management, or control of any investment adviser, broker-dealer, or commodity adviser in Mississippi. Further, he agreed to orders barring him from the securities industry in other states and to a federal commodity trading ban. In the next phase of the litigation, the appropriate amount of customer restitution and civil monetary penalties will be determined.

Safeguard and Ikahn also agreed to settle a federal lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleging violations of federal Securities Laws. The Secretary of State's Office and the Attorney General's Office wish to thank the CFTC, other state regulators, and the SEC for their assistance in this action.

Secretary Watson and Attorney General Fitch encourage investors to contact the Secretary of State’s Securities Division or the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division if they suspect they have been targeted by similar precious metals investment schemes.

For questions or concerns, please contact the Secretary of State's Securities Division at (601) 359-1334 or or the Attorney General's Office at