By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
THE DAY BEFORE Thanksgiving, squad cars pulled up a tree-lined street in a tony neighborhood of Rochester, Minnesota. The squads stopped before an imposing two-story home. Five deputies piled out.
They'd been warned: The suspect might try to flee.
Two men flanked the back of the house and stood guard. Three approached the stoop and rang the bell. For several minutes, they waited.
Finally, an attractive blond woman cracked the front door.
"Olmsted County Sheriff's Department," a deputy announced.
They were there to arrest her husband, Jason Michael Meyer.
The woman stared at the deputies. Inside the house, her three towheaded children would have no clue why deputies wanted to take away their daddy. Meyer's wife decided she wouldn't help them, either. She refused to say where Meyer was.
So the deputies stormed past her. They swept through the house and into the master bedroom, where they found him hiding in a linen closet.
Cowering there, Meyer, with his neat goatee, clear blue eyes, and close-fitting gray T-shirt, looked more ready for a GQ photo shoot than a mug shot.
Deputies cuffed Meyer and drove him to Olmsted County Jail, where he spent his Thanksgiving holiday.
WHEN THE OLMSTED County Sheriff's deputies arrested Meyer on the day before Thanksgiving, they were acting on behalf of Bernie Butts.
Months after he'd won his lawsuit, Butts still hadn't received a cent. Meyer ignored requests from Butts's Minnesota attorney and missed a court hearing. So Judge Robert Birnbaum signed a warrant for his arrest.
In recent months, Meyer has been emailing people he's worked with in the past, attorneys who have gone to battle against him, and individuals who have lost money by investing with him. He is sending them statements saying that anything negative they ever said about him was a lie, and asking them to sign affidavits.
Recently, Meyer made a settlement offer to Butts, but the Miami attorney declined. Butts says the men are closer to reaching an agreement. Meyer is also in settlement talks with A.J. Watson's attorney.
A few weeks ago, the FBI and the IRS raided Meyer's home. Federal agents are also looking at Butts's friend Richard Oetting, the man who recommended Meyer.
Meyer agreed to two separate phone interviews, but failed to answer his phone for either one. He then declined repeated interview requests.
While Meyer wouldn't talk by phone, he was quite willing to email. In his written correspondence, Meyer assures us that everything is going according to plan.
"I won't discuss my companies, lawsuits are settled except Butts so really the only thing to discuss is him," Meyer wrote. "U don't hear Donald Trump talking about past lawsuits do U?"
Jason Meyer wasn't the only one to try to scam investors with the promise of gold-backed riches...
1. American Coin Company and Northeast Gold and Silver, Long Island, New York. Brothers Joseph, Michael, Salvatore, and Vincent Romano ran a boiler-room call center and stole $80 millionby selling supposedly valuable coins. In fact, the coins were worth only about 10 to 20 percent of what customers paid.
2. Stephanie Brown, Upper East Side of Manhattan. Brown, a rare-coin expert in Arizona, convinced a fearful 83-year-old Manhattan mom and her 56-year-old daughter that banks and mutual funds were going under and gold coins were their only hope. The pair invested $1.1 million, and Brown stole about $430,000 worth of coins she sold the women. Brown pled not guilty in state Supreme Court in Manhattan in November, and is awaiting trial.
3. David Bell, William Gary, and Gerald Gary a.k.a. Hakeem Shaheed, Kinnelon, New Jersey. The trio showed jewelry stores and pawn shops a real Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin—worth as much as $50—and said they had more to sell. But the scheme flopped when none of the store owners wanted to buy the coins, and the men decided to try armed robberies. They were charged in September.
4. Cash4Gold, Pompano Beach, Florida. The online and 1-800 gold-buying company pays between 11 and 29 percent of the daily market price for gold, far below the typical pawn shop rate of 35 to 70 percent, according to an investigation by Consumer Reports and Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.
5. Tom Noe, Toledo, Ohio. The millionaire coin dealer and GOP fundraiser used his political connections to get $50 million from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation for his rare-coin business. In 2006, he was convicted of 29 felony counts for stealing $13 million from the fund, and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
6. John Missitti, Flint, Michigan. Missitti and the other smooth talkers at GetMoni.com held lunchtime seminars to convince people to invest in gold and silver mines. GetMoni defrauded four people out of amounts ranging from $15,000 to $119,000 before state regulators shut them down in 2009.
7. Traveling coin buyers, Beaumont, Texas. Several companies swept through Beaumont promising the best prices on the market for gold coins. But they grossly underpaid, in one case offering $60 for an antique coin worth $10,000, according to an investigative series in the Beaumont Examiner.
8. Goldline, Santa Monica. Goldline sponsors conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck, who dedicates entire segments of his programming to claiming that gold is the only safe investment now that Barack Obama is president. Goldline sells coins at an average mark-up of 90 percent over their melt value.