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Metals Sales Firm Owner Charged With Grand Theft

September 20, 1986|BILL RITTER | San Diego County Business Editor

SAN DIEGO — A Poway businessman suspected of operating a "boiler room" was arrested Friday and charged with grand theft and failing to register his precious metals phone sales firm with state authorities.

Clifford S. Jones Sr., 39, was arrested Friday morning by state and federal authorities and, as of late Friday, was being held in San Diego County Jail on $25,000 bail.

Jones is also being held in lieu of $50,000 bail on a federal indictment issued Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., charging him with four counts of wire fraud and eight counts of mail fraud in connection with a money-raising scheme he operated in 1983 and 1984.

Authorities do not yet know how much money was invested in Jones' Beneficial Acquisitions or in Phoenix Financial Services, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Sullivan. Officials of the San Diego Boiler Room/Investment Fraud Task Force are still sorting out Jones' bank accounts to determine the number of investors and how much money was involved.

In any case, customer funds deposited in the accounts are missing, officials said Friday. In addition, the funds were not used to buy precious metals, and the money was misappropriated, authorities said.

Beneficial Acquisitions used a bank of 12 phone lines to make cold calls to prospective clients, asking them to buy precious metals--either gold, silver, platinum, palladium or copper--with a 20% down payment, according to an affidavit filed in court.

Jones was previously the manager of the San Diego office of Trinity Metals Exchange, which was closed last year by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission because it was selling unregistered commodities.

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