Almost $146 million (£115 million) has been ordered to be paid by two precious metals companies by a US court after more than 500,000 American Silver Eagle coins went missing.
The businesses and Robert Higgins, the owner, are charged with operating a "fraudulent and deceptive scheme.".
Allegedly, they had pledged to keep the coins for clients.
However, the coins were nowhere to be found when investigators went into the vaults that were supposed to contain them.
Argent Asset Group, a precious metals dealer, and First State Depository Company, both owned by Mr. Higgins, were ordered to make restitutions totaling $112.7 million and pay a $33 million penalty as part of the court settlement.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a US financial watchdog, claimed Mr. Higgins' businesses ran "fraudulent silver leasing programs" from 2014 to 2022.
The Maximus Program and the Silver Lease Program were referred to as these.
The companies "solicited and misappropriated at least $7 million in funds and silver from at least 200 customers" through the schemes, according to the regulator.
The CFTC claims that the firms also provided "false and misleading justifications for why assets could not be withdrawn.".
According to the regulator, customers' accounts were missing more than 500,000 American Silver Eagle coins and more than 9,000 gold coins.
Investigators claimed to have discovered "'IOU' slips in empty boxes marked to indicate a customer's account, but containing no assets" in their place. ".
The CFTC continued, "This kind of egregious behavior merits the full force of the Commission's enforcement authority.".
An inquiry for comment from the BBC did not receive a prompt response from Mr. Higgins.
The US government guarantees the weight and purity of American Silver Eagle coins.
According to the United States Mint, each coin contains at least one troy ounce (31.11g) of 99.9% pure silver.