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Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Conduct Sting Operation to Catch Gold Scam Artists

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Conduct Sting Operation to Catch Gold Scam Artists

(Douglas County, Colorado) The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is issuing a fraud alert to protect our residents from falling victim to the latest “Gold Bar Scam”. In the past three months, we have received reports of residents being instructed to purchase gold bars and then hand-deliver them to suspects.

On May 23rd, 2024, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested two suspects in a sting operation dubbed “Operation I Love Gold”. The arrests took place in a parking lot near I-25 and Castle Pines Parkway. The 76-year-old victim played a pivotal role in helping detectives apprehend the two suspects.

Detectives were alerted to the case by the victim who reported she received a pop-up message on her iPad on March 12th of this year, which prevented her from using it. The message directed her to call a phone number. She called the number and was told that some of her identity and accounts had been compromised. She was told she was being forwarded to the “bank’s fraud department” and spoke with “agent Richard Parker, badge #GS7408”. This person had a heavy accent. He told the victim fraudulent checks had been written for pornography sites, and he said there was a gag order and she could not speak with anyone about the incident, including her husband. The man directed the victim to withdraw funds from her accounts to purchase gold bars. He told her the gold bars would be delivered to her safe deposit box.

Through the course of the investigation, detectives worked closely with the victim, gathering information, and building a case against the suspects.  When the two suspects arrived to pick up the gold bars, detectives from the Financial Crimes Unit and IMPACT team moved in and arrested them.

•             They have been identified as: Anil Kumar Dhiman (DOB: 06/02/1989) and Punit Punit (DOB: 03/04/1994). Their bond was set at $10,000 each.

•              The charges include: theft and crimes against at-risk persons. The charges are merely an accusation, and the suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The Department of Homeland Security has provided our detention facility with an immigration detainer for both suspects.

“No one gets to come to Douglas County, prey on our elderly residents, steal their life savings and get away with it. The lead detective in this case is sharp and laser focused on taking these suspects off the streets to protect our most vulnerable residents,” said Douglas County Sheriff Darren Weekly.

In a separate, unrelated case, an 81-year-old woman reported a similar scam in late March. In this case, the victim purchased $429,000 in gold bars and dropped them off to a man in a black SUV in a parking lot in Littleton. She wrote down the license plate, and Douglas County Detective Eric Oppeau tracked the suspect to Illinois. Illinois State Police responded to the location, detained the suspect and the vehicle, and recovered $1.1 million in gold bars belonging to the victim in Douglas County and another victim in Kansas City. The suspect in this case is Syed Makki (03/08/1988). Detectives have identified additional victims in other parts of the country. Makki is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Red flags to watch for: Never keep anything a secret. Never click on a pop-up ad on your computer or phone. Do not allow strangers remote access to your computer or bank accounts. If you must meet someone, choose a safe, public location like a local bank or a designated safe exchange zone near the Sheriff’s Office.

Trust your instincts: If something feels off or raises suspicion, trust your gut instincts. Seek advice from trusted family members, friends, or law enforcement before proceeding with any financial transactions.

dhiman for social

punit mugshot for social

makki for social

photo of recovered gold bars