Hi there and thank you for your question,
I will try to assist you with your legal question but please feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you like until you are 100% satisfied.
I've seen many many people asking basically the same question as you, always with gold bars being shipped from some central African county to the US, and either includes some sort of "beneficiary" status of "future value" promises as to the value of the gold bars.
This is my warning to you: THIS IS MOST PROBABLY A NiGERIAN 419 ADVANCED FEE SCAM !!!!!!!!
The GOLDEN rule in this situation is that whenever an upfront payment of money is requested before you can receive another BIG payment, or before your payment can be "released", you should take extra caution that it is a scam.
If you go ahead with this transaction, the scammers will send you (what looks like) original documents from some fake institution (pretending to be real e.g. reserve bank, mining commission, etc) dealing with the gold bars, or will send you to a fake internet website as "proof" that these gold bars exist, or that they are registered in your name!
It's all fake, and all part of the scam.
They will go to the ends of the earth to try convince you that it's all real, and they will go on and on and on and on until you WANT to believe. Don't.
The scammers will tell you that before you can take delivery of the gold bars (or before they are shipped, or can clear customs) there are certain charges that will need to be paid, including: certificate charges, customs charges, affidavit charges, regulatory charges, etc, etc, and once you've paid the first charge there will be more and more and more .... each time asking for more money.
They may even tell you that they are going to sell the gold bars on your behalf, and you can then use the proceeds of the sale to pay for the initial cost of the gold bars. There will be a PROFIT, and you will then get that profit ... the only thing is that they first need a sworn affidavit! Which will cost money.
Then there will be the delays. Somebody at customs or the reserve bank or police will delay the delivery due to some reason. Or delay the profit, or something like that.
Maybe there will be another sworn affidavit of claim or a fact certificate that will be required, and they will ask for more money so that you can issue the documents.
The so-called "419" scam (aka "Nigeria scam") is a type of fraud named after an article of the Nigerian penal code under which it is prosecuted. It is also known as "Advance Fee Fraud" because the common principle of all the scam format is to get the victim to send cash (or other items of value) upfront by promising them a large amount of money that they would receive later if they cooperate. In almost all cases, the criminals receive money using Western Union and MoneyGram, instant wire transfer services with which the recipient can't be traced once the money has been picked up. These services should never be used with people you only know by email or telephone!
The victims are promised a fortune for providing a bank account to transfer the money to. Then - if they fall for the scam - they are made to part with thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in "bribes" for local officials or other "fees" (taxes, insurance, legal fees, etc) before the "partners" finally disappear without trace.
Many 419 scams involve a fake lawyer (usually a person who calls himself a Barrister or claims to work for a firm whose name includes the word "Chambers").
My suggestion is to BREAK OFF ALL FURTHER COMMUNICATION WITH THEM ... YOU ARE ONLY GOING TO LOOSE YOUR MONEY....
You can have a look at this site http://www.419scam.org/419scam.htm for more information.
Please note: I am not 100% positive that this is a SCAM, but I can give you a 99.99% sure that if you did not initiate contact with this person, then this is most probably an advanced fee SCAM.
Think about this -- how did you come to meet these people?
Depending in what information you have given these people, you might indeed be at risk of identity theft. It would be advisable to keep a close look at activity on you bank and credit card accounts and report any unauthorised activity immediately. If you feel up for it, it might be a good idea to change your banking details.
If my answer hasn't answered all of your questions, please send me a REPLY with follow up questions so that I can continue to assist you in this same thread for as long as you need. Let me know if you need more advice - dont just rate my answer as "bad".
If my are HAPPY with my answer then please click one of the STAR ratings or the SMILEY FACES to rate my answer!
Good luck and best regards,