S.he 49-year-old, former managing director of PIM and the 52-year-old head of the gold trader’s former sales company have been answerable to the Darmstadt regional court for serious fraud since Tuesday. They accept the accusations of the prosecution without much emotion. Neither of them wanted to comment on the first day of the negotiations.
According to the indictment, the company is said to have concluded supply contracts with customers for hundreds of kilograms of gold from 2016 to September 2019, but failed to fulfill them. Interest is said to have been paid out according to a kind of pyramid scheme via newly acquired customer funds.
The proceedings also concern contracts for the purchase of around three tons of gold, which, according to the allegations, was probably never stored in any vaults on this scale. The prosecutors described the losses of individual investors for hours at the start of the trial in around 130 individual cases.
Numerous investors affected
Funds from house or company sales, canceled home loan and savings contracts or life insurances, entire inheritances – gone. Pensioners, entrepreneurs and, with special contracts, also children are said to have lost investments. In the case of an entrepreneur and his two children, the plant, which was continually increased, finally came to more than 2.2 million euros.
Employees of the company themselves are also said to be among the victims. A woman and an investor claims to have approached the defendants for talking about a lack of gold. According to public prosecutor Lucia Wülfing, the answer was: “Anyone can visit, see and stroke their gold for 30 euros.” The employee has invested all of her assets in PIM.
Many would have invested their money with the promise of the insolvency-safe gold deposit. Now, according to the prosecution, some are financially up to their necks. According to the prosecution, lost retirement provisions, fear of economic hardship, postponing retirement are fates. Prosecutor Tobias Stewen said of an injured party: “According to his own statements, he is facing ruin as a result of the loss of property.”
According to the insolvency administrator, there are well over 7,000 registered claims with a total volume of almost 180 million euros. The range of the individual claims ranges from amounts of 20 euros to 1.9 million euros. So far, around 560 kilograms of gold and jewelry have been seized in the inventory.
Charge of defense
The lawyer of the younger defendant, Stefanie Schott, believes the whole complex is not fully investigated. It was not until the beginning of November that the court commissioned an expert for the first time to clarify to what extent and what damage had occurred. But this was actually a prerequisite for bringing charges. This clarification should have taken place during the preliminary investigation.
Your client has been in custody for more than a year, beginning September 2019. He is also accused of wrong bookkeeping and money laundering. The 52-year-old co-defendant is at large. The process will continue on Thursday.