Utah man is sentenced to three and a half years for $850,000 investment scheme involving start-up mining company


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Date: October 26, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Charlotte, NC — Acting U.S. Attorney William T. Stetzer announced that a Utah man was sentenced to 42 months in prison for orchestrating an investment scheme involving a start-up mining and precious metals company. Andrew Malcolm Lovett a former resident of Cornelius, North Carolina, also was ordered to serve two years under court supervision after he is released from prison and to pay more than $820,000 as restitution. U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell handed down Lovett's sentence.

Mona Passmore, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, Charlotte Field Office (IRS-CI), Robert R. Wells, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which oversees Charlotte, join Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer in making today's announcement.

According to court documents and today's sentencing hearing, from 2014 to 2016, Lovett defrauded more than 30 victims out of nearly $850,000 by convincing them to invest in a start-up mining and precious metals company, Safari Minerals, Inc. (Safari), and other entities with which Lovett was affiliated, by falsely telling them their money would be used to grow Safari and to develop various purported mining projects. Among other things, Lovett described Safari to his investors as "an emerging junior exploration and mining company" that focused on acquiring and developing properties in Nevada which "contains an abundance of … Gold, Silver, Platinum Group Metals and Rare Earth Elements…." Lovett also misled investors by touting his experience as a seasoned businessman with a wealth of knowledge in the mining industry and promoted his reputation as a man of faith.

As Lovett previously admitted in court, over the course of the scheme, Lovett lied to investors about the progress and viability of Safari, and failed to disclose to investors his previous criminal history, including his previous conviction for bank fraud. Lovett also did not tell his victims he diverted several hundred thousand dollars from Safari for his own personal use. In fact, rather than use the victims' money to grow Safari's business as promised, Lovett used a significant portion of the investments to pay for rent, entertainment and travel, and other personal expenses, and to make Ponzi-style payments to other victim investors.

In March 2021, Lovett pleaded guilty to securities fraud and transactional money laundering.

In making today's announcement Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer thanked IRS-CI, FBI, and USPIS for their investigation of the case.

Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel Ryan and Caryn Finley, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.