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Arthur Rubin
Arthur Rubin, Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 1493
Experience:  22 years of tax preparation experience, including individual, trust, and estate returns.
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I own gold in Ghana, bring it to the United States

Customer Question

I own gold in Ghana, bring it to the United States
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

How did you acquire the gold. Was this the inheritance of an Internet romance?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Gold was acquired through a long time friendship he has been transferred into my name by the High Court we paid the fees to have it transferred into my name
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 1 year ago.

We get questions like this one several times every day. The gold is never legitimate. The high court documents are forgeries. All of this is just a way to get money from you.

It is possible that you are the exception and not the rule, but if your long-term friend is someone you have only met on the Internet and who is supposedly in love with you, this is the typical fraud pattern

I would be happy to look over any documents you have from the High Court to see if your matter is legitimate. Please upload them and I will take a look at them. If you have the name of the barrister that you are working with on this matter let me know what that name is.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The gold has already been tendered to a carrier of Chrom Cargo Company with a tracking number they say my sender needs an export license
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Bill of Lading
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Poa
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I uploaded two documents
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 1 year ago.

I am very sorry for the delay. I've had a household emergency and I had to step away from the computer.

There is only one way to export gold from Ghana, and that is through the PMMC. The PMMC stands for the Precious Minerals Marketing Corporation. It is not a company, however. It is a government agency that controls the exporting of gold. Any other way to get gold out of Ghana is unlawful. So right away, if you're telling me that a private citizen has shipped this to you through a standard carrier, you're telling me it's likely that you're being scammed.

Let me tell you the typical Ghanaian gold export scam. If it hits a nerve, since you told me nothing about how you came by this gold, you will recognize your situation and should know I'm right.

The scam usually works like this:

You meeat a woman from Ghana on a dating or social networking site and she falls in love at warp speed. She claims to be an heiress who has an inheritance just waiting for her in a Ghanaian security/shipping center. She usually will tell you that the terms of her father's will are such that she can only collect it if she's going to be married to a good man. So, tag, you are "it."

As her "good man," your job is to help her clear her inheritance. She may even claim to have transferred the gold into your name and will send you (phony) documents to that effect. As her so-called fiance, you get to pay so called barristers and bankers thousands of dollars to clear her inheritance so that you can collect it and live happily and wealthily with her ever after. It doesn't exist, however, so it never comes. And neither does she.

Below are the other typical signs of a Ghana romance fraud:

- the scammer reaches out to you on a dating or social networking website and she falls in love with you at first sight.- She moves in on you and rushes the relationship towards some kind of a commitment. She pulls you off the site where you met and tells you that she wants an exclusive relationship with you via webcam, skype, Yahoo messenger, etc. She flirts with you, seduces you and teases you sexually, especially when she is talking about gifts and money.

- And as soon as she knows that she's got you all really hot and interested, she starts asking for things or money. She wants to see you but she will need plane tickets and/or a visa, and a Declaration fee or a Basic Travel Allowance. (no such thing) But then after you've paid all that, she'll have an emergency that keeps her from getting on that plane -- a car accident on the way to the airport. A legal problem with an inheritance from her late father or mother or with her job. A mugging and a trip to the hospital. A dying mother/father/sister/brother/self who can't pay hospital bills. An arrest at the airport or a problem with Customs for trying to get her goods out .

These are just some of the most popular excuses. There are many others. No matter what the phony excuse, however, she will say that you're her only hope to solve her problems. And all of her problems will cost you money. A lot of it. Despite that, she will never get an inch closer to boarding that plane.

- She will want the money wired via Western Union or MoneyGram, which has no protection for the sender. It's like throwing your money away.Once she starts asking for gifts or money, You can bet that she's not who and what you think she is. She's a group of thieves, almost always men, sitting at an internet cafe somewhere overseas, working together to rob too trusting, good hearted men and women such as yourself of all of their money.

If you send her money, she'll just come up with another emergency to ask you for more. And another. And another until you catch wise or go broke, whichever happens first.

As to the documents, the first is just a bill of lading template on which everything else is just filled in. I am unable to find any proof of an actual company named Chrom Cargo Company in Ghana that wasn't put on the web by the company itself. It does not show up on any list of licensed or authorized freight forwarding companies in Ghana. Here's a comprehensive list.

The power of attorney is a forgery. First of all, it is in the wrong format for an actual High Court Document. Secondly, there are grammatical errors that would never be present in any legitimate legal document. And finally, it is signed by a so-called barrister who does not really exist.

All people who legitimately practice law must be licensed to do so by the local appropriate licensing authority. Without a license they are not lawyers and are committing fraud by holding themselves out as one.

Legal licensing authorities all over the world make it easy for someone to verify the credentials of an attorney so that you don't get defrauded. Ghana is no exception. The Ghana Bar Association publishes a list of all of the licensed lawyers in good professional standing who are able to practice in Ghana and you can download that list directly from their website. If a legal professional is not on the list, then he cannot lawfully practice in Ghana and he is a fraud. You can download the current list of members in good standing from the Ghana Bar's website. I have already checked it and can assure you that there is nobody named Kwaku Adu who is legitimately practicing law in Ghana.

http://www.ghanabar.org/members-in-good-standing-2/

That says it all.

So what should you do? For one thing, you should not pay the "lawyer" or anyone else concerned with this "inheritance" one more dime. You should cease all contact with these people. You're never going to see any gold. You're never going to meet any girl. And if you haven't lost thousands of dollars already to this fraud, you're heading to do so.

Cease all contact with all of these folks. You are being lied to.

Report the fraud to the FBI at IC3.gov and to your police, because if you've wired money, the only way you're going to get your money back is if law enforcement can find the team of folks behind this fraud and bring them to justice.

I am very, very sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It turns out the gold is real was wondering what kind kind of tax as far as Ad valorem tax I'll have to pay when it arrives? There is 15kilo.
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 1 year ago.

How did you verify that the gold is real, because the lawyer certainly wasn't?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was verified by a friend of mine in charge of all port of Tema activity concerning the movement of all inbound and outbound containers
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 1 year ago.

Nope. Sorry. I still don't buy this. I'm quite sure you'll never see a package and you'll spend thousands and thousands of dollars trying to.

However, I will take you at your word, because if you didn't believe me once I showed you that the documents are forgeries and that the so called barrister is a fraud, you're never going to believe me and will just have to unfortunately find this out the hard way.

Your question has become a tax question and now would need to be answered by an accountant. I will opt out and have it moved to our tax category where someone there can tell you if, how and when this would be taxable to you.

I hope you do receive this shipment, and if so and you happen to think about it, let me know that it has worked out. It would be nice to see facts like these have a happy ending, as we haven't seen that yet.

Expert:  Arthur Rubin replied 1 year ago.

I agree with Zoey; the gold isn't real. Your "costs" might be deductible as personal theft loss, if the IRS (or a Court, later) decides that your belief in the scam was reasonable. That would be deductible as an itemized deduction, but reduced by at least 10% of your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income).

If it were real, and it were a gift, the costs of securing the asset might add to the basis as "costs of acquisition" of an asset acquired for the purpose of later resale for gain. If the asset were to be used for production of income, the costs could be currently deductible in some cases, but I don't see how you could get income from gold.

Expert:  Arthur Rubin replied 1 year ago.

There might be a customs fee paid to either US customs or Ghana customs, but those should not be paid through an intermediary, as, even if the gold is real, you don't know that the intermediary is an agent of the principal. Under FATCA, you would have to declare the gold to another agency of the US Treasury as a "foreign asset", even if you have ownership or control if it.