EAGLE ROCK -- A 77-year-old Eagle Rock man faces federal fraud and money laundering charges for allegedly selling $7 million worth of "ancient slag" to victims who were told the mining waste contained precious metals, according to prosecutors.
Michael Godfree, co-founder of Pasadena-based The Minerals Acquisition Co., was arrested this morning after being named in a seven-count indictment, according to the U.S. Attorney General.
The firm allegedly told its victims it had a method to recover precious metals from copper mining waste, and sold "certificates of title" that gave the victims ownership of the slag.
However, the federal indictment said the company's claims were lies and that "Godfree and TMAC did not actually own the vast majority of the slag they sold, there was not a commercially viable process for extracting precious metals from the slag, and the business operation had not been endorsed by an attorney."
Godfree and others allegedly used the victims' money to pay for, among other things, sales commissions and Godfree’s personal expenses, which included the purchase of luxury items, according to the U.S. Attorney.
Godfree was to be arraigned today on five counts of mail fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft for misusing the name of an attorney.
The Minerals Acquisition Co., which was dissolved in 2015, was largely taken over by another Godfree company, Precious Metals of North America, Inc.
Contact information for either firm could not be found.