Thanks to the ever-growing population of cable channels, there is a reality show about all sorts of interesting things. The self storage industry has taken center stage in a few of them; more specifically, the auctions that occur when tenants fail to pay their rent after a few months. Shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters have shown the viewing public some of the treasures and amazing stories that can lie behind the door of a storage unit.
One of the most interesting ones to date has to be the recent inadvertent purchase by one auction goer of a half million in gold coins. The price the auction goer who has only been identified as “John” paid was a paltry $1,100.
Whenever a story like that emerges it is only natural for people to wonder what the story is behind the find. Who leaves $500,000 in gold in a self storage unit and the fails to pay the bill? Come on! Sell one coin and rent for a few years could have been covered!
It turns out that the owner did not pay his rent because he was in jail. Daniel David Rigmaiden was the owner of the unit, and he is currently awaiting trial in the U.S. District Court in Arizona on charges of identity fraud and theft. He has been accused of running a tax fraud scheme that cheated the federal government out of more than $4 million.
The informant that contacted the press described Rigmaiden as a deeply disturbed genius that trusted no one so he converted the money he stole into gold or silver which he would then store somewhere other than home. According to the informant, there was actually $680,000 in precious metals in the unit.
“The only furniture he had were two tables, a folding chair, and a cot,” said the informant known only as Curtis P. “He didn’t even have a car.”
When he was finally arrested, authorities found over $100,000 in cash and another $216,000 in gold and silver at Rigmaiden’s home and another self storage unit.
For someone who didn’t trust people, the fact that he hid hundreds of thousands in precious metals in those respective self storage units showed the tremendous amount of respect and trust he had for their security!
There has been no word on whether “John” will be able to keep his windfall or if the government will claim it since it was the product of a criminal act.
“Exclusive: Original Owner of $500K Storage Unit Identified.” PRWeb; 22 November 2011.
“Update on $500k Gold Find at Auction.” StorageAuctionCentral.com; 22 November 2011.