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After SEC And CFTC Charges, Santulan Allegedly Starts New Company

What do you do when your company is shut down after two federal investigations? If you’re “serial entrepreneur” Jeffrey Santulan, you just start another company and keep going.  Santulan, also known as “Jeffrey Hill” and “Jeffrey Ikhan,” and his company, Safeguard Metals, LLC, were recently charged by the US Securities & Exchange Commission, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office and the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) along with state securities regulators from 26 other states.  Filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, both complaints detail how the defendants convinced more than 450 investment customers to transfer funds from their retirement accounts with registered brokers into Safeguard’s self-directed IRAs to purchase precious metals. Some were convinced to use cash and credit to make the purchases.What do you do when your company is shut down after two federal investigations? If you’re “serial entrepreneur” Jeffrey Santulan, you just start another company and keep going.

Santulan, also known as “Jeffrey Hill” and “Jeffrey Ikhan,” and his company, Safeguard Metals, LLC, were recently charged by the US Securities & Exchange Commission, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office and the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) along with state securities regulators from 26 other states.

Filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, both complaints detail how the defendants convinced more than 450 investment customers to transfer funds from their retirement accounts with registered brokers into Safeguard’s self-directed IRAs to purchase precious metals. Some were convinced to use cash and credit to make the purchases.

The investors bought overpriced gold and silver coins with markups of 64% to over 100%. The company brought in over $67 million, with more than $25 million of that as profit, according to the SEC.

Who was the target market for Safeguard, Santulan and his sales agents? The SEC and CFTC allege retired senior investors who weren’t experienced in precious metal investments. But after defrauding more than 450 people, Santulan simply started over with another company.

Alliance Shield, LLC

According to one news story, Santulan’s new company, Alliance Shield, LLC, offers the same style of self-directed IRAs with gold and silver. An individual familiar with the matter confirmed that the new company is owned and formed by Santulan.

Santulan filed the registration for Alliance Shield in April using the same address as Safeguard Metals. The statement of information lists the managing director as “Jeffrey Ikahn.” A cross-reference with a family website indicates that this is a pseudonym for Santulan.

Although there is no public connection between the two companies, an error in the “About” page on Alliance Shield’s website stated, “our experts at Safeguard Metals provide in-depth education and help investors take advantage of their ability to hold precious metals in their retirement accounts.” The “About” page no longer exists. Santulan’s legal counsel did not respond to requests for information.

Precious Metal Fraud Lawsuits

The SEC’s complaint details the fraud Santulan committed from December 2017 through at least July 2021. Using prepared scripts, sales agents made calls, used online ads and other electronic means, and social media to advertise their self-directed IRAs that would be used to purchase gold and silver coins. Santulan and Safeguard told investors that they had $11 billion in assets and an office in London, neither of which were true. The SEC requests a jury trial, as well as disgorgement and civil penalties.

In the CFTC’s complaint, the agency seeks to prevent Santulan from future work with commodity futures, swaps, and options. However, this would not prevent him from doing physical sales of precious metals. The CFTC demands a jury trial, as well as a permanent injunction against the defendants, and disgorgement and restitution to the victims along with civil penalties. Safeguard demands a jury trial to address the charges of both the SEC and the CFTC.

Scott Silver, founder of Silver Law Group, recently told online news site Citywire, “we see this all the time with these kinds of shops. Fraudsters get caught, pack up the circus tent, and reopen somewhere else under a new name but engage in the same kind of misconduct.”

Mr. Silver represents nine of the victims of Santulan and Safeguard in arbitration proceedings. He is working with co-counsel Aaron Cohn of law firm Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial. They are working to get awards that “would make the investors whole.” This would include legal fees, interest and punitive damages that are triple the amount of the initial principal losses. This is “because Safeguard’s actions are intentional, not negligent,” Mr. Silver explained.

“We are investigating to see if the business model at Alliance Shield is similar to the model utilized at Safeguard,” Silver added. Additionally, Mr. Silver and his team haven’t yet found a business registration for Alliance Shield with either the SEC or the CFTC.

Silver Law Group Precious Metal Fraud Arbitration

Last week, an arbitrator issued an initial award for one Silver Law investor. The arbitrator found that Safeguard solicited claimant Charles Weatherford with “false and misleading statements.” Mr. Weatherford retired in 2019 after a 44-year-long engineering career. The company convinced him to liquidate two 401(k) accounts, which had a total combined value of $1,093,071.87. He was then directed to invest those funds in Silver Canadian Polar Bear coins and Silver Guinea coins through Safeguard via their self-directed IRA accounts. A statement from the IRA’s custodian Equity Trust showed that the value of these purchases only had a value of $348,048.30, a loss of more than 60%. The differences were attributed to the company’s “excessive markups.”

The arbitrator awarded Weatherford $745,023.57, plus $300,369.51 in interest and $15,122.23 in legal costs and expert witness fees.

Did You Invest With Safeguard Metals, LLC, or Jeffrey Santulan?

Silver Law Group represents investors in securities and investment fraud cases. Our lawyers are admitted to practice in New York and Florida and represent investors nationwide to help recover investment losses due to stockbroker misconduct. If you have any questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. Most cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, meaning that you won’t owe us until we recover your money for you. Contact us today at (800) 975-4345 and let us know how we can help.

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