Two men thought they scored $300,000 in gold. But it turns out they bought copper and fell victim to a scam.
Montgomery County police are looking for a man suspected of swindling two men in Gaithersburg late last month.
In late August, a gold store owner from outside the United States was contacted by an acquaintance who asked if he wanted to buy a large quantity of gold, he told police. The man contacted a friend who also wanted to buy gold, and they agreed to meet a man named Mike at a hotel in Gaithersburg on Aug. 20.
After the men met Mike, he took them to a storage facility on Christopher Avenue and showed them a box that he said contained a large amount of gold. Mike told them they could remove a small amount and have it tested for authenticity. They took a sample, and then Mike sealed the box and said no one would be able to tamper with it.
The men went to have the sample tested. The results said it was indeed gold.
The next day, the men met Mike at the same facility and sealed the deal. They saw the box in the storage unit and gave Mike $300,000. They left with the box and again went to get it tested. But this time it wasn't gold; it was only copper.
As of Thursday, an ounce of gold was worth about $1,204, according to the online gold and silver dealer Provident Metals. An ounce of copper was worth just $2.68.
The men called police. The department's financial crimes unit is investigating and released two photos of the suspect.
Anyone with information for police is asked to call 240-773-6330. To remain anonymous, call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
CORRECTION (Sept. 13, 2018, 11:50 p.m. ET): A previous version of this story misreported the estimated prices of gold and copper.