Beware of Frank Williams, “Global Silver Investors”, “Friend of Medjugorje” Terry Colafrancesco, Caritas of Birmingham and “Medjugorje silver rounds” coins
We answer question of a visitor: “Do you know if this is a fraud?”
Date: November 4, 2012
Category: Caritas of Birmingham and "A Friend of Medjugorje" Terry Colafrancesco, Sterrett (AL), Alabama
We have received the following question from a visitor of Medjugorje WebSite:
"I have bought close to $40,000 in the silver miraculous medal silver rounds from Global Silver Investors. This is the company that Friend of Medjugorie speaks of in his weekly computer address with Frank Williams who is with the company. Do you know if this is a fraud? I have tried looking everywhere on the internet but unable to find any "fraud" so to speak. I am very concerned since this is my husband and my life savings. If you don't feel comfortable answering on the net, is there someone I can contact about this issue? Thank you, ... ..."
Answer by Marek Gayer:
Dear ... ...
As for your purchase of silver coins, what you have done in your particular situation is actually just a very risky and problematic investment or better said financial speculation.
Regardless what will "Friend of Medjugorje" Terry Colafrancesco, his friend Frank Williams or e.g. some reckless, greedy hucksters directly and hugely profiting from selling precious metal coins will persuade you into, there is no guarantee that silver will keep the value for which you bought it or its value will grow even higher. In particular in the case that global economy would eventually recover, it could very well fall down to $10 per ounce or even less and staying at such levels for many years.
Between 1982 and 2002, silver was traded all the time around $5 per ounce. I do not know when you exactly bought it, but let us assume for $30 per ounce which is close to average silver price in the past 12 months. Then it is roughly six times higher price, then before 10 years. This fact by itself is disturbing and telling clearly that your investment, though not necessarily bad, is risky. Every experienced trader would recommend you to try to buy when prices are low and sell when prices are high. Especially in your case, when you expect to buy and hold the physical silver commodity for a long time, for several years or more. You just bought it at a very high price. If one nevertheless buys at high prices, one must count with option of selling it soon to avoid eventual losses. This is not very easy and convenient with physical silver.
Also any experienced and responsible trader or financial advisor would encourage you to invest in different types of assets to have diversification of your portfolio. One should consider to have for example stocks, bonds or also other commodities than silver, and yes even partly those “worthless fiat paper dollars” or for example other currencies to have their portfolio balanced. This helps to avoid the risk that loss in one of the items would harm your whole portfolio, in particular in cases when your portfolio represents your whole life savings. To have for example around total 10% of your life savings in silver and/or another similar commodity such as gold would be just fine, but to have 100% in just one asset – silver coins is very problematic and risky. With these 100%, you just betted all your life savings to a risky card, which is speculation on continuation of growing of value of the silver and/or keeping the value at current high levels.
Assuming you paid around $1.5 over current spot price of silver ounce to Frank Williams and/or to "Friend of Medjugorje" and group of his minions "Caritas of Birmingham", this is in your case totals around $2000. In his 2010 book "Friend of Medjugorje" claims that Caritas of Birmingham was responsible for selling at least 900,000 ounces of silver in last year. This amounts to his or their possible profit in hundreds of thousands of dollars. For this reason alone, do not be surprised that "Friend of Medjugorje" and his friend Frank Williams are preaching and persuading you into buying their silver coins big-time.
You have now around 40 kg of silver coins (“Medjugorje silver rounds”) which you have to keep somewhere. You have to maintain or pay for its security against theft. Also, silver is a metal very prone to corrosion and loss of value, even the oils from skin may tarnish and devalue the silver content. This may add you other worries or costs.
In case you would decide for any reason to sell the silver coins back, you might have to pay again very well at least $2000, if not much more. This is already in total at least $4000, 10% value of your $40,000 lost. In financial terms, this is called poor liquidity of your investment.
It’s difficult to try to advise you what to do in your situation. In any case, from now you should not increase your portfolio assets by buying anymore silver. Quite opposite, you may consider trying to find a way of selling part of your silver coins (e.g. 75% or more), especially when price would be high so you would not loose very much. Selling during higher prices levels could help you balance your losses caused by your buying and selling at less favorable price than the spot price. But there is no guarantee though, that such moment would come in next few years. Nevertheless, due to high volatility in silver and other commodity prices as well as current turmoil in world economics, it is quite possible.
You ask if Frank Williams of “Global Silver Investors” about whom his friend Terry Colafrancesco (“Friend of Medjugorje” ) speaks weekly, is a fraud or scam. I do not think that Frank Williams and his “Global Silver Investors” is an obvious fraud – because I believe “Medjugorje silver rounds” that you received are indeed made of silver. But certainly, it’s being said birds of a feather flock together. For discernment and finding answers about questions such as what kind of person his friend Terry Colafrancesco really is I would recommend you to check:
The book "It Ain’t Gonna Happen" by “Friend of Medjugorje” encourages people to buy silver coins from Caritas of Birmingham and “Global Silver Investors” of Frank Williams by wild claims of "Friend of Medjugorje" such as "By not being fool, you can presently take worthless fiat paper dollars and buy as much silver as you can before everyone else who are fools wake up". This Amazon review of the book could maybe help you answering your question as well:
“Simply, this book is poorly written. It needs MAJOR editing. There seems to be no continuity throughout the book. At the beginning, there is a story of a man on death row who repented and came to know Jesus through the intercession of the Blessed Mother and the miraculous medal. It touches on the apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Medjugorje. It discusses usury and it being a sin. Then, it gets into silver and why everyone should invest in silver... NOW! The author uses the Blessed Mother's messages to talk about how she wants everyone to "change now", however the author talks mostly about getting out of debt and buying silver! I'm no theologian, but I'm pretty sure the Blessed Mother isn't talking about buying silver but talking about our ongoing spiritual conversion. Yeah, right, I can just see Vicka, Marija, Jacov and the other visionaries of Medjugorje stockpiling up silver. The author then tries to tie all these things together and say to pray 8 rosaries a day, and by the way, we are creating a silver round of the Miraculous Medal. So, after I finished reading the book, I thought, "well, the guy has a point about getting out of debt and he made a convincing argument about the fall of the dollar and investing in silver." However, tying the Blessed Mother's messages (at Medjugorje) into them was just too far a leap. After I finished the book (I did read it because a friend gave it to me) I looked up who this guy was- apparently the priests in Medjugorje do not support him and his organization, CARITAS, and even warn against him. CARITAS is also not under the authority of the local Church. So, if you are interested in a spiritual read or info on Medjugorje, avoid this book. If you want an interesting chapter (which reads poorly) on silver, go ahead and give it a whirl.
Added several months later: I was the first to write a review of this book, since then several people have given this 5 stars. Coincidentally, they have not reviewed any other books.“