The missing founder of a gold and silver trading firm that allegedly bilked customers of "hundreds of thousands" of dollars has been charged with mail fraud and interstate transportation of stolen goods, the FBI reported today.
FBI Agent Allen H. McCreight of Richmond said a warrant was issued Monday against John Ross Greer, president and principal stockholder of Virginia Gold and Silver Trading Co. Inc.
Greer has not been seen since March 1, when he went to Washington National Airport for a flight to Atlantic City.
The 28-year-old entrepreneur used a national advertising blitz to parlay his 13-month-old firm into a multimillion-dollar gold and silver trading company. Acquaintances and employes described him as a smooth talker who "wanted to emulate" Nelson Bunker Hunt, the silver magnate.
Virginia Gold & Silver advertised widely in business magazines and newspapers, and at one time had 26 employes and a WATS line to accept orders from all parts of the nation.
The FBI seized records of Virginia Gold and Silver last week after the state's consumer affairs office began receiving complaints from disgruntled customers across the country. More than 83 complaints were received last week about the firm's handling of gold and silver sales.
Sources who examined the books of the firm said at least $750,000 was unaccounted for and the company faced a flurry of lawsuits resulting from the customers' complaints. The company was said to be $800,000 in debt.
McCreight said anyone with information about Greer's whereabouts was requested to contact the FBI.
The company's assets were frozen by court order and its account books seized by the FBI on March 6. It also is being investigated by the Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. CAPTION: Picture, John Ross Greer of Virginia Gold and Silver Trading Co. Inc.: Richmond firm's president missing, as is at least $750,000. UPI