Jew­eller scammed by phoney gold bar

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS -

OT­TAWA — The Royal Cana­dian Mint says a phoney gold bar sold to a jew­eller by an Ot­tawa bank may have looked like the real thing, but was ac­tu­ally a counterfeit.

The small gold wafer wasn’t made or sold by the mint, al­though it was made to look gen­uine, said spokesman Alex Reeves.

The jew­eller who bought the bar told the CBC his gold­smith knew some­thing was wrong when he tried to put the wafer through a mill and found it was much too hard and brit­tle to be gold.

Reeves says the mint does not sell bul­lion di­rect to the pub­lic.

The mint only sells bul­lion guar­an­teed to be 99.99 per cent pure, and does not sell bul­lion di­rectly to the pub­lic, Reeves noted.

“It is a copy of a Royal Cana­dian Mint bul­lion bar,” he said.

“We know that its pu­rity is not four nines, its weight is not four nines. The pack­ag­ing has er­rors on it, so we knew right away that there were sev­eral things wrong with it. It could not pos­si­bly come from the Royal Cana­dian Mint.”

It’s rare for such a counterfeit to turn up, Reeves added.

“This is not wide­spread; this is a very iso­lated case,” he said. “It didn’t come from the mint, it’s not one of our bars. It im­i­tates one of our bars, but that’s the ex­tent of it, un­for­tu­nately.”

The bank said in a state­ment that most of the bul­lion it sells comes from the mint, al­though in some cases clients may re­quest another sup­plier.

“We work closely with them to en­sure we ac­quire the most se­cure prod­uct avail­able,” the state­ment said.

The bank said it is rare for a counterfeit to get into its in­ven­tory.

“Upon dis­cov­er­ing th­ese ob­jects, we im­me­di­ately in­ves­ti­gate to de­ter­mine the source of the ob­ject and en­gage the ap­pro­pri­ate au­thor­i­ties. In all in­stances, we work closely with our clients to keep them in­formed and to reach a po­ten­tial res­o­lu­tion.”

The mat­ter has been handed to the po­lice for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The mint, mean­while, has in­tro­duced new, high-tech se­cu­rity mea­sures in re­cent years, Reeves said.

“We have vis­i­ble, anti-coun­ter­feit­ing, mi­cro­en­grav­ing marks on new one-ounce gold bars for in­stance since 2016,” he said. “We’ve got sim­i­lar fea­tures and even more se­cu­rity on our gold and sil­ver Maple Leaf one-ounce coins.”

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