There have been reports circulating in recent months that a potential buyer for the LA Dodgers baseball team was the owner of an Arizona gold mine worth perhaps $20 billion. That was surprising to those in the mining community in Arizona. A mine that big would attract attention even in a mining state as big as Arizona. [Right, native gold. Credit, USGS]
Well, the LA Weekly ran a lengthy story, calling it a 'fraud' and challenging the tales of the gold claims. The paper says Joshua Macciello established his credibility as a potential team buyer with a multibillion dollar appraisal of an Arizona gold property. But the paper tracked down the appraiser who deals with homes and buildings not mineral deposits. The 'appraisal' was a short informal "research report" for a company that went out of business and merged with another company. The reporter says they never heard of Macciello.
There's a lesson here. We hear from investors and securities officials regularly, about purportedly amazingly rich mines or deposits of gold laying around the surface and overlooked by generations of prospectors. And the owners of these bonanzas are happy to let you in for a piece of it or sometimes the whole deal for a fraction of what it's worth. Or they want to use it as collateral for something big, say a national baseball franchise.
So folks, a little common sense and a couple of phone calls or emails might save you a whole lot of grief.