Secretary of State William Galvin is suing a Wyoming corporation after the company allegedly convinced Massachusetts investors to liquidate their retirement accounts to purchase gold and silver coins at a loss. The company at the same time collected super-sized markup fees. TMTE, Inc. is also known as Metals.com, and it's in the business of selling precious metals.

The market value of the purchased coins was reportedly much lower than the securities that the investors held previously. A married couple from Orleans, while approaching retirement, lost more than $1.5 million due in part to a 54% markup fee the company collected, according to Galvin's office.

The complaint claims that the couple verbally agreed to open an IRA to hold some precious metals, but that the company then used blank forms signed by the investors to liquidate all of the money in their retirement accounts. When the couple found out, TMTE allegedly used scare tactics to convince them to keep their funds in the metals.

"In less than two months, TMTE facilitated two transactions that robbed Investors One and Two of their retirement savings," the complaint states. There were four other Massachusetts victims referenced in the complaint as well.

The state is seeking an order to require TMTE to release all profits relating to the alleged wrongdoing and provide restitution to the investors. It also wants TMTE to be fined and permanently barred from advising Massachusetts residents to sell securities to purchase precious metals.

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