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SALT LAKE CITY — A Layton couple and a Draper man were indicted Wednesday for allegedly misleading hundreds of investors in a fraudulent silver trading Ponzi scheme.

Gaylen Dean Rust and Denise Gunderson Rust, both 59-year-old Layton residents, and Joshua Daniel Rust, 37, are facing charges after investigators allege that their many businesses stole roughly $200 million from at least 500 investors, according to a press release issued Wednesday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah.

All three are charged with one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of money laundering. Denise and Joshua Rust are each charged with an additional count of money laundering; and Gaylen Rust is also facing two counts of securities fraud.

According to the indictment, which was handed down by a federal grand jury Wednesday, the Rusts defrauded investors by offering investment opportunities in a silver trading program starting in 1996 and continuing until Nov. 15, 2018.

Gaylen Rust allegedly lied to investors about the program, saying the funds would only be used for investing and trading silver. Rust was allegedly not licensed to sell securities and laundered funds through transfers in and out of their personal bank accounts. Statements provided to investors were falsified and not based on trades for silver, according to the press release.

The three allegedly used money from later investors and gave the money to earlier investors and claimed they were profits, operating the program as a Ponzi scheme. Investigators estimate that $150 million in payments were made to investors and were passed off as profits.

Gaylen Rust and Rust Rare Coin, Inc. are also involved in a pair of civil lawsuits filed in November stemming from the alleged Ponzi scheme.

Gaylen Rust and Rust Rare Coin allegedly promised annual returns of 25 to 40 percent for investments in a silver pool, according to the two civil suits. One suit was filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the other filed by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Utah Division of Securities.

Millions of dollars allegedly were diverted for personal uses such as mortgage payments or were funneled into other companies controlled by Rust, such as a horse racing business, according to previous Standard-Examiner reporting.

In a civil complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the commission alleged, “(Gaylen) Rust claimed that he had a personal relationship with a commodity analyst at a large global bank and that Rust obtained information from this analyst regarding when that bank and other market participants planned to sell large quantities of physical silver, driving down market prices.”

The three charged will be issued summons to appear at the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City. The charges the three are facing carry a potential sentence of up to 20 years in a federal prison.

Jacob Scholl is the Cops and Courts Reporter for the Standard-Examiner. Email him at jscholl@standard.net and follow him on Twitter at @Jacob_Scholl.

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