Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Real life Manhattan catches up with CSI: NY, two years later

More than two years ago, in March 2010, IPBiz discussed an episode of CSI: New York involving fake "gold bars" which amounted to gold plated tungsten. See
CSI: NY does salted gold and green (cyanobacterial) beer
including text:

The gold bar in question was gold-plated tungsten, with Mac observing tungsten and gold had the same density. Au is 19.3 g/cc and W is also about 19.3. [Of salted gold, see kitco: In October,[2009] the Hong Kong bankers discovered some gold bars shipped from the United States were actually tungsten with gold plating

Flash forward to September 2012, and a story on Fox:

In jewelry stores on 47th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the important trust between merchants has been violated. A 10-ounce gold bar costing nearly $18,000 turned out to be a counterfeit.

The bar was filled with tungsten, which weighs nearly the same as gold but costs just over a dollar an ounce.

Ibrahim Fadl bought the bar from a merchant who has sold him real gold before. But he heard counterfeit gold bars were going around, so he drilled into several of his gold bars worth $100,000 and saw gray tungsten -- not gold.

What makes it so devious is 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. That is a sophisticated operation.

So, tungsten filled gold had shown up in Manhattan two years before the Fox report.

In the IP area, Mark Lemley had talked about "gold-plated" patents. One wonders if this is what he had in mind?


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