A Manhattan gold merchant discovered that several 10-ounce gold bars, normally worth around $100,000, are counterfeits. Instead of gold, the bars were filled with tungsten, which Ibrahim Fadl found when he drilled into several of the bars.
Tungsten is a hard, steel-gray metal that weighs nearly the same as gold, making detecting counterfeit bars more difficult. A gold bar filled with tungsten drops over 80 percent in value.
According to Fox 5 News, this is a “sophisticated operation,” in which “a real gold bar is purchased with the serial numbers and papers, then it is hollowed out, the gold is sold, the tungsten is put in, then the bar is closed up.”
Fadl was acting on a suspicion after reports of fake gold bars on the market. Tungsten-filled gold bars were found as recently as March in England. The discovery in New York raises question as to whether this criminal act is being coordinated on an international level.
The Secret Service, which is responsible for pursuing financial crimes, is now investigating.