Man Accused Of Stealing $14 Million In Gold And Silver From Father’s Wyoming Home

A Las Vegas man is accused of stealing $14 million in gold and silver from his father’s home in Smoot, Wyoming. He reportedly told investigators he didn’t steal the treasure out of greed, he was just keeping it safe.

Clair McFarland

July 10, 202411 min read

Smoot, Wyoming, is a tiny community in Wyoming's Star Valley just south of Afton.
Smoot, Wyoming, is a tiny community in Wyoming's Star Valley just south of Afton. (Photo by Jimmy Emerson via Flickr)

A Las Vegas man accused of stealing about $14 million in gold and silver from his father’s home in Smoot, Wyoming, reportedly maintains he didn’t seal it, he was just keeping it safe.

Michael Reps, 60, allegedly told investigators he was merely protecting the gold from others who were trying to take advantage of his elderly father.  

Reps remained in the Lincoln County Detention Center as of Tuesday, the jail confirmed.

He faces one count of felony burglary and another of felony theft, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines, according to a charging document Lincoln County Attorney Spencer Allred filed June 9 in Kemmerer Circuit Court.

Ryan Semerad, owner of Fuller & Semerad LLC, is representing Reps in the case.

All of the alleged victim's assets and valuables, including what was taken, is all being stored in a secure location in another state, Shane Johnson, Lincoln County Sheriff, told Cowboy State Daily.

Gold Gone

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Detective Jody Gardner went to a home in Smoot late in the morning May 15, in response to a report of a “substantial amount of precious metals” missing from the home, according to an affidavit filed alongside Reps’ criminal charges.

The homeowner, Reps’ father, told Gardner he had between $14 and $18 million in gold coins and at least one gold bar stolen from the home and was missing about $200,000 in cash, the affidavit says.

The father reportedly said he’s been investing in precious metals for 56 years, and he stored the gold throughout his home and in safes. He and his wife have lived in Smoot for about 12 years and spend their winters in Wickenburg, Arizona.

Last year they left Wyoming in October, and didn’t return until May 10, he said, adding he allegedly noticed the theft the day after they got back.

The father said he was certain his son Michael stole the gold, and said Michael lives in Auckland, New Zealand, but returns to the United States periodically.

Michael Reps was convicted of a financial crime in New Zealand in 2020, according to his father’s statement to investigators and a statement by the nation’s Financial Market Authority.

He said Michael had been to his home on at last one occasion but couldn’t recall when that was, and he said some of Reps’ children had stayed in the Smoot home the prior summer, without Michael Reps.

The father has five children from his first marriage, but was adamant that Michael, not one of the others, committed the theft, the affidavit says.

Adult Protection Services

He told the investigator that while he was in Arizona for the winter, an anonymous caller asked an adult protection services agency to investigate his competency.

The father suspected this was Michael, lashing out over the way his father’s trust and will are structured, he reportedly told Gardner.

Michael’s younger brother was named as the executor of the trust, the affidavit relates.

“I noted no indication that [the elder] Reps had a diminished capacity during the hours I have spent with him during the course of my investigation,” wrote Gardner.

The father reportedly read aloud from an email in which Michael admitted to calling adult protective services. Michael indicated he didn’t trust his father’s wife’s children.

The Porsche Title

The father also reported several car titles missing from his bedroom safe, including a Porsche title registered in Montana and an Airstream trailer registered in Arizona, but “he could not recall the other titles that were missing,” Gardner wrote.

The father told Gardner all the safes in the house were locked, but there were bags of gold and silver stored elsewhere in his home, reportedly.

Someone may have used a key to get in, he said in response to the detective asking about signs of forced entry.

The father had kept handwritten detailed instructions for his wife on how to access the precious metals and cash stored in their home, reportedly.

Gardner took that document into his evidence cache.

The missing cash had been in the father’s bedroom safe in $100 and $50 bills, says the affidavit.

The father also showed Gardner where 300 ounces of gold had reportedly been stashed.

Into The Basement

The father also took Gardner down to the “spacious and unfinished” basement of the home, where a significant amount of food storage sat among the organized and uncluttered space, Gardner observed.

Another safe sat empty. The father said it had contained several hundred ounces of gold and 200 ounces of Canadian silver coins all gone, the affidavit says.

“If you didn’t have prior knowledge or the instructions he wrote for his wife, you would never know a safe was there,” Gardner related from the father’s interview.

Gardner took the metal plate that had once covered the safe door into evidence.

A gun safe in a separate part of the basement also was open.

The father said there had been 700 ounces of gold coins stored in four canvas bags inside it, reportedly. 

One bag contained 300 ounces and bore the name of one of the father’s daughters. Another bag contained 200 ounces of gold and was marked with his stepson’s name. Another contained 100 ounces of gold, marked off for Michael. And another contained 100 ounces, marked with another name. But all bags were gone, the affidavit says.

Stock certificates also were allegedly missing from the father’s bedroom. These would do no good to anyone but the father, the man said.

In total, he estimated 5,859 ounces of gold had been stolen from his home. The affidavit says he also reported three handguns missing: a Beretta Tomcat .32 ACP pistol, a North American Arms Mini-Master .22 LR and a North American Arms .380 semiautomatic pistol.

These he reportedly said he’d bought through a private sale about two years prior in Arizona, and he didn’t have serial numbers for them.

Touch DNA

The father said he didn’t have photographs of the missing precious metals nor a specific inventory, and that the coins were of various types and mints.

Gardner swabbed the key sites for touch DNA and took DNA swabs from the father and his wife. Agents later documented the pair’s fingerprints as well to weed them out of the forensic investigation.

Wyoming State Crime  Lab Investigators later visited the home and took more swabs from the surfaces and checked for fingerprints, but no useful prints were found, reportedly.

One of the man’s sons (not Michael) has a mental illness and PTSD. The father didn’t suspect that son came to Wyoming last winter, the document relates.

Another son lives in Australia “or possibly Switzerland,” while his two daughters live together in Oregon, with one caring for the other, who is disabled.

His wife has two children, who are his stepchildren, the affidavit says, adding that he and his wife have been married for about 35 years.

The father “told me Michael Reps has expressed hard feelings against (his wife’s) natural children and has expressed resentment that his brother… is the executor of the Reps’ trust rather than being appointed himself,” wrote Gardner. He “told me he has never shown a single person where his safes are located or where he stashes his precious metals.”

No Idea What Car That Was

Gardner met with a Smoot couple that cares for the Reps’ home while they’re gone. The couple said a vehicle sat in the driveway for a couple days in the autumn of 2023, and the visitor kept the porch light on for at least one night. But the couple could not give Gardner a description of the vehicle “whatsoever,” says the document.

A Homeland Security Investigations agent reported Michael had arrived in the United States from New Zealand on Sept. 14, and remained in the country until May 2. Michael arrived back in the U.S. again two weeks later, the affidavit says.

Gardner touched base with an investigator at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and obtained photos of Michael’s Las Vegas home and two vehicles.

“It appears that the burglary was targeted and very specific,” wrote Gardner.

The person appeared to know where to find the treasure, and the theft of the vehicle titles made the act look “personal,” he added.

Other than the guns, gold and money allegedly taken, nothing else was disturbed. 

Tried To Pay In Gold

Michael bought his home in Las Vegas on Dec. 12, for $380,000, reportedly.

The person who sold it to him has an “extensive criminal history” including grand theft and theft of rare coins and fencing stolen property, the affidavit says.

This seller later told Gardner that Michael tried to buy the home with gold, but that he wanted cash. 

No Calls In Lincoln

Gardner reportedly received cellphone data for Michael’s phone June 1.

Michael’s phone had not been used to make or receive any phone calls or texts between Oct. 25, 2023, and May 10, 2024, in Lincoln County, which was the rough window of the alleged burglary.

Gardner clarified: “This just means the device was not used, not that it was not present.”

The investigator also noticed 136 alleged calls between Michael’s phone and a phone number associated with a Fresno, California, gold broker.

The gold broker reportedly confirmed for Gardner that he’d been buying gold from Michael, and he handed over receipts for the exchanges, plus text message exchanges between the two from this past winter and spring.

Are You Looking At Me?

Out of concern that Gardner was investigating him, the home seller contacted Gardner, reportedly.

But as the conversation developed, the home seller described going to a gold broker in Las Vegas to test the quality of Michael’s gold. Michael had reportedly told the home seller that he, Michael, got the gold by selling cryptocurrency.

Receipts Unearthed

Gardner obtained receipts from the coin gallery and learned that both the home seller and Michael had exchanged gold for money there, the affidavit says.

The document lists exchanges totaling $3,193,105, with two of those receipts (comprising $666,516) in the home seller’s name, and the rest in Michael’s name. These exchanges reportedly involved gold Eagles, gold Buffalos, American gold, platinum Eagles, gold sovereigns and Swiss French francs.

The gold buyer reportedly showed Gardner text message exchanges, including attachments depicting wire transfers from his bank account to Michael’s on multiple occasions.

We’re Going To Vegas

Gardner and Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Roy Warren travelled to Las Vegas together June 6, talked with the city’s detectives and obtained a search warrant for Michael’s address.

With the help of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s SWAT team, the pair executed the search warrant the next day, the document says.

They found a black duffel bag containing several hundred ounces of silver coins, allegedly.

The next day they learned Michael had entered Nevada and was on his way to Las Vegas. Las Vegas police set up surveillance around Michael’s home, while the two Wyoming agents traveled to another address with which Michael was reportedly associated.

They searched that address as well with a search warrant, says the affidavit.

Meanwhile, the local authorities arrested Michael.

The Interview

Gardner and another agent interviewed Michael, who was reportedly read his Miranda rights beforehand.

The affidavit relates that Michael said his stepmother manipulated and exploited his father, and that this issue was not about banks or money, but about family.

He said he took the money not out of greed, but to protect his family.

He also voiced concern for his own brother and sister, who were suffering from serious health conditions and “were at risk of not having the financial support they required,” the document relates from that interview.

Michael allegedly admitted to going to Smoot on about Nov. 22, 2023, and taking about $12 million worth of gold and silver.

He said he didn’t take any guns.

If he inadvertently took vehicle titles or stocks, he’d return them, the affidavit relates.

As for the money he sold to the coin gallery, the amount he received in return was “less than his projected inheritance,” Michael reportedly said.

The Negotiation

Gardner wrote that Michael also tried to negotiate with investigators.

He said he wanted his father to drop any charges against him and to engage a third-party mediator to prevent his father’s wife from exploiting him, Michael reportedly said. He indicated he’d disclose the location of the other gold in exchange, the affidavit says.

Michael was courteous and generally cooperative throughout the interview, Gardner recalled.

Eventually, he admitted the remaining treasure was in a commercial vault in a Las Vegas facility.

Detectives received a search warrant for the vault and found about 380 pounds of gold and 333 pounds of silver more than $14 million in value, the affidavit says.

Michael is being held on a $50,000 cash-only bond, his court file says.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter