Home News & Insights Engagement Update: Convicted Bullion Direct CEO Denied Appeal
April 8, 2021
Engagement Update: Convicted Bullion Direct CEO Denied Appeal
By Harney Partners
Greg Milligan of Harney Partners Acted as Chapter 11 Post-Confirmation Trustee

Greg Milligan was appointed Chapter 11 Post-Confirmation Trustee in 2016 for a debtor, previously led by its CEO, Charles McAllister. US Fifth Circuit Appeal McAllister McAllister was both the CEO and majority shareholder of Bullion Direct, Inc. (“BDI”), the company he founded in 1999. BDI was an online platform that facilitated the trading of precious metals. “Nucleo” was BDI’s trademarked exchange site, allowing a buyer and a seller of bullion to remain anonymous while using the proprietary platform, with BDI acting as intermediary, to buy/sell precious metals. BDI earned a one-percent commission after allegedly verifying the legitimacy of metals before completing the sale. BDI also offered its customers storage for precious metals in its vault for no additional charge.

The FBI opened an investigation into BDI in July 2015 after receiving a complaint from a former customer who had wired almost $100,000 to BDI to obtain precious metals, but received nothing in return. Shortly thereafter, BDI declared bankruptcy. The FBI investigation ultimately concluded there were over 6,000 victims and approximately $25 million in lost funds. McAllister was indicted in January 2018 for creating and using companies between January 2009 and July 2015 to devise a scheme to defraud and obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.

Milligan testified during the five-day trial of McAllister where federal prosecutors charged McAllister with aiding and abetting wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2 and § 1343 and unlawfully engaging in a monetary transaction in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957 arising out of his online precious metals trading business.

Milligan investigated litigation claims on behalf of the creditor’s trust, and as such, described his investigation into BDI. He testified that in BDI’s fifteen years of operation, it funded operating losses, including salaries, software development, and primary operating expenses through the use of customer metals. He noted that prior to filing the bankruptcy petition, McAllister paid himself $35,874 in severance, used company funds to purchase a home.

At the conclusion of the five-day trial, the jury unanimously found McAllister guilty of wire fraud and engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property. McAllister moved unsuccessfully for acquittal. The district court imposed a concurrent, below-guidelines sentence of 120 months and restitution in the amount of $16,186,212.56.

McAllister appealed but it was was rejected by the Fifth Circuit in this opinion.