7/7/2015 10:14:43 AM
For Immediate Release:
Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman today announced that DENNIS CHARLES HELMER, a/k/a “Jeff Jones,” a/k/a, “Mr. Diamond,” a/k/a, “Dennis Dimon,” 54, has been sentenced in federal court to 150 months in prison for devising an elaborate coin fraud scheme and defrauding dozens of elderly victims of more than $1.3 million. HELMER was indicted on August 5, 2014, and pleaded guilty on September 25, 2014. He was sentenced today before U.S. Senior Judge David S. Doty.
The case is the result of an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
According to HELMER’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, he operated Wholesale Assets Worldwide, LLC (WAW) and Best Price International, LLC (BPI), which engaged in appraising, buying, selling, and trading of coins and precious metals. From November 2009 through January 2014, through WAW and BPI, HELMER contacted dozens of victims, many of whom were in their 80s and 90s. He visited potential victims in their homes and persuaded them to entrust to him money, coins, and precious metals, based on false promises. HELMER falsely told victims that his businesses had more than 75 employees and $500 million in annual revenue, and also provided a falsely obtained “Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Review” of his business.
WAW and BPI received over $1.3 million in coins, precious metals, and cash from victims. Instead of fulfilling their orders, HELMER sold many of the coins and used customers’ money and proceeds from those sales to fulfill other orders, make payments to other customers, pay his own personal expenses, and attempt to fund start-up costs for another purported company, Smoke Shack, LLC.
HELMER targeted elderly victims because they were particularly vulnerable. HELMER took note of anything that would make it easier to steal from them. For example, HELMER targeted a 79-year-old stroke victim, an 86-year-old victim who fell asleep during an in-person meeting with HELMER, a 99-year-old victim suffering from dementia, a victim in hospice care, and a legally blind octogenarian.
HELMER used various aliases, including “Jeff Jones,” in an attempt to hide his three prior criminal convictions for similar conduct in both Dakota and Hennepin Counties. In November 2013, when HELMER learned that WAW was under investigation, he moved his coin fraud operation to Florida where he continued to operate his scheme under the newly formed BPI under the aliases, “Mr. Diamond” and “Dennis Dimon.”
DENNIS CHARLES HELMER, 54
Banking & Finance