PHOENIX - The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has reached a resolution with a company that was used by convicted felon Sherman E. Unkefer III (D.O.B. 9/21/1943) to conceal his assets and avoid paying millions of dollars in court-ordered restitution to victims of his fraudulent precious metals and currency business. Under terms of a settlement agreement, XANGO, LLC will contribute $200,000 towards efforts to recover restitution for customers who were defrauded by Unkefer’s company, North American Coin and Currency (NACC). XANGO worked with the County Attorney’s Office during the investigation into Unkefer’s activities and was not involved in his scheme to avoid paying restitution. The company’s stipulated contribution will fully resolve a claim made in a civil complaint that was filed earlier this year against Unkefer and his alleged co-conspirators.
“This agreement recognizes that XANGO was used by the Defendant to hide his assets while also acknowledging that the company’s leadership was not involved in his illicit conduct,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “We appreciate the cooperation of XANGO’s leadership in our efforts to uncover the Defendant’s elaborate shell game and their support of the victims who suffered enormous losses as a result of his actions,” he added.
From 1978 to 1982, Unkefer was the CEO of NACC, which conducted a billion dollars of business annually. Part of the company’s business model was to hold precious metals for its customers. In September 1982, the shareholders and directors of NACC discovered the company was insolvent and more than one million ounces of precious metals owned by its customers were missing from the firm’s secured storage facility. Unkefer was subsequently convicted of fraud and sentenced to ten years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $7.5 million dollars in restitution to his victims.
According to the recent civil complaint, Unkefer conspired with others during and after his incarceration to conceal millions of dollars in assets and avoid paying restitution to more than 1,300 victims whose losses are believed to total nearly $18 million. As part of this elaborate scheme, Unkefer intentionally concealed an ownership interest in a XANGO Distributorship. The complaint, filed under the Arizona’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statutes, seeks treble damages of up to $53,845,140 against Unkefer and his co-conspirators. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has set up a special website to provide additional information for victims at www.maricopacountyattorney.org/unkefer.
"XANGO worked with the Maricopa County Attorney to resolve our part of this investigation and determine the accuracy of key documents," said XANGO General Counsel Leslie Gallacher. "Through our work with the County Attorney's Office, it was determined that XANGO was not knowingly involved in any activity that affected the victims. In our resolution agreement, XANGO also offered to provide a significant contribution to support the victims. Our thoughts are with those who were affected."
The basis of the civil complaint against Unkefer does not relate to the manner and operation of XANGO, LLC or any of its executives, principals, or employees, or the company’s business operations. With the completion of the terms of the settlement agreement, XANGO will have no further liability for the conduct of Unkefer and other co-conspirators.