Brian Culwell: All That Glitters May Not Be Gold at Gold and Silver Buyers

Categories: Crime

reststoryjksd.jpg
Court documents tell a different tale.

Correction Correction: Brian Culwell was not convicted of a crime in relation to the DreamKids / Olajuwon Internet jewelry sales. Instead, in April of 2005, he was convicted of state jail felony theft for his role in fraudulently using his power-of-attorney over Dolores Hawkins's affairs to settle his debt with Uri Cohen, the diamond seller mentioned in the post below. Culwell was sentenced to two years in state jail for that offense. Hair Balls regrets the error.

Back in March, the Houston Chronicle produced a glittering profile of Brian and Amelia Culwell, founders of Houston-based Gold and Silver Buyers. The company, the report noted, had been launched in August of 2008 in a leased space inside an HEB store and had since grown to almost 50 outlets all over Texas. (The number has since grown to more than 50, including many more in H-E-B stores and one in the Galleria.) The reporter quoted the Culwells as saying that their revenues in 2010 were more than $16 million, and that they expected that number to more than double this year.

It seemed like a feel-good report -- a local couple making good in tough economic times. And making good they are -- you can't swing a gold necklace in this town these days without hitting one of their storefronts, complete with their ads featuring corporate spokesman Mickey Gilley and their slogan: "If you sell your gold or silver to anyone else, you've just lost money!"

While the Chron did call in Dan Parsons of the Better Business Bureau to give some pointers on gold-selling, it whiffed big-time on Brian Culwell. Somehow the paper failed to note that for much of the past 20 years, starting almost as soon as he got out of Spring Westfield High School, the 39-year-old Culwell has either been running scams or behind bars, and sullying the name of one of Houston's foremost sports legends along the way.

Among the highlights the Chron failed to mention:

In 1990, when he was barely out of high school, Culwell was convicted of burglary of a building, Four years into the ten-year probated sentence he'd been given, Culwell's probation was revoked and he was sent to prison for seven years.

Around the same time of the burglary offense, in civil court, the Texas State Attorney General shut down a direct-mail scheme in which Culwell and several accomplices promised lucky winners a car and other prizes but instead peddled them cosmetics and delivered shoddy prizes. Along with his co-defendants, Culwell was ordered to pay civil penalties and attorneys fees of $16,125 and make restitution of $19,886.37.

In 2002, Culwell was $192,712 in debt to a local diamond seller. A civil court would later find that in partial settlement of that debt, Culwell gave the jeweler the deed to a Heights home owned by Delores Hawkins, an elderly woman who had given Culwell power-of-attorney over her affairs, ostensibly to repair her credit so she could buy a car. The court would later find that Culwell had swindled Hawkins, who had just had two strokes, out of her home and that he then compounded that rip-off by passing the home along to the jeweler, whose attempt to sell the land was halted when the deed was found to be fraudulently obtained by Culwell.

In 2005, Culwell was sent to prison again, this time for two years for state-jail felony theft. In that case, Culwell opened an eBay market under the banner of Hakeem Olajuwon's Dreamkids Foundation and peddled what was found to be extremely cheap jewelry at grossly inflated prices. Customers thought they were both getting a deal and helping impoverished kids get an education. Instead, one buyer tells Hair Balls that he paid around $700 for an engagement ring "that looked like it came out of a 25-cent gumball machine."

Nine other buyers came forth and told the DA similar stories. Olajuwon's name was cleared, but only after the Dream came downtown under subpoena and gave a statement that he was unaware of Culwell's jewelry sales in his name. Culwell was supposed to have been selling only sports memorabilia and such, according to Olajuwon's testimony. Interestingly, Culwell was able to hire Dick DeGuerin to defend him in that case, and it's downright confounding that this case attracted zero media attention when it went down.

We called Gold and Silver Buyers' corporate office for a comment. After we sat through a lengthy recorded message courtesy of Mickey Gilley, we left a detailed message on their answering machine. So far that message has not been returned.

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52 comments
daverickey3
daverickey3

Here's a former employee that says they pay as low as 20%

 "I worked for gsb aka goldwiser for almost 2 years before i found out that everybody in ths company are ex cons. We were paid a salary for a unot director working 60 hours for 420 a week. The company encourages you to pay the customer as lil as 20% of what the item is worth. Since i was not paying this low amount i was let go. Brian Culwell is a scam artist Andre Lyles is an ex drug dealer Richard Scrushy is a thief and a liar as well as Jeremy Evans who is like an evil dictator and puts employees name on a wekkly email if they are not scamming the customers out of enough money to make monthly quotas."

http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/gold-and-silver-buyers/houston-texas-77081/gold-and-silver-buyers-goldwiser-ex-employee-houston-texas-1096504#comment_3

Karma is a Bitch!

ww214
ww214

Anyone who writes on here that says Brian Culwell is a kind man and a great guy doesn't know Brian Culwell.  I've worked for GSB for 2 years and he is and his company are crooks.  He pretty much brain washed all of us. He is back to contest fraud.  He had a contest about following a 24K golden egg which the contest is suppose to be announced October 26,  2013.  And he pulled it.  He got all your names and addresses for data base to sell you other things.  Then he says he pays you the most.  NO WAY does GSB pay you the most.  Their first offer is 32%.  Yep that right 32%.  All other places pay 95%.  They will rip you off and tell you a BS story.  But don't blame the poor buyer he/she has been told the BS story and to believe it.  Amelia makes NO business decisions they are all Brian.  She is just the sham to cover up for Brian.  His company bounces customers checks almost on a daily bases.  DO NOT take a check from him, but more importantly DO NOT SELL to them.   They constantly change the employee's pay and rules.  I am not an employee who stole from them I quit.  They are conartists at the very best.  And I am sure he will be in jail very very soon. Oh and they are changing their name to Goldwiser because they have filed bankruptcy and have a lot of bad press under the GSB name.   

DiversityMan
DiversityMan

Recently, Gold and Silver Buyers has been changing their name to Goldwiser. Seems strange they would give up all of the name recognition they have built up. A rose is a rose is a rose. A thief is a thief is a thief. Want to bet many people get screwed by the time the "name change" is completed?

Sara_Ann_Graham
Sara_Ann_Graham

I have been Working at GSBuyers for about a month now. Everything that is said is true yet also not true. What happened was an employee got caught stealing, and now that person is to do whatever it takes to take Brian down. Brian is a very caring guy. His Employees enjoy coming to their jobs and we definitely love to see our customers leave happy!

JackFlash
JackFlash

Brian Culwell will be going to jail again very shortly. Mock my words....

Daddy53
Daddy53

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.  The only thing you learn in prison is how to be a better crook.  Starting a new charity is a good sign that something fishy is going on.  Funny how you can be his best employee one day and next day he kicks you to the curb.

Janed2727
Janed2727

This is hilarious half of these posts are from his employees that he asked to say kind words about him so that it wouldn't affext his business

Gpjojo
Gpjojo

I have been selling gold a long time and here is what I see. Once a crook always a crook, #1 they want tell you over phone what they are paying for SPOT, todays price for 1 oz of 24k pure gold. They make you come in the store to find out.  The ole close the trap trick. I went in and they gave me a price for Spot which 78% of spot. I sold 2.5 oz the same day for 93% of spot a 15% difference at another store down the street. Big difference money wise. This is where it gets interesting, 14k gold is .585% pure 24k gold.  They gave me a term Melt Price of 55% which means they are paying 3.5% less fror.pure gold..  I laughed while the little girl tried o explain the difference. I can't believe HEB is in bed with this x crooks. I guess their prices are calculated the same.

guest
guest

I sold my gold to Gold & Silver Buyers over a year ago. I was paid a whole lot more than I ever expected. I was very pleased with the customer service and the honesty from Lindsay.  A couple of months later I was looking for a job and inquired at Gold & Silver Buyers.  I was hired and trained and it is the best company that I have ever worked for.  I have been here a year and it is a job that I enjoy going to everyday.  Brian treats his employees with respect and he genuinely cares about them.  He works hard and the growth of the company is amazing.  I have nothing but good things to say about this company. 

LouieLanae
LouieLanae

I have worked for GS Buyers for over a year and LOVE it! I have never had an issue with my bonus. The company is generous and takes very good care of the customers and the employees. The only time I've heard of GS Buyers letting someone go was only after they got caught stealing. This was obviously the case for the idiot ex employee that posted to this blog. This is the best job I've ever had and Brian & Amelia are great people with big hearts. They are one of the few companys actually creating jobs in this sucky economy. We'd all be a lot better off if people would spend more time trying to live up to their standard and less time reporting on frivolous BS.

Guest
Guest

Preferred Gold Buyers will pay you more. Don't just go to the Gold and Silver Buyers because they have TV and radio commercials because they have to pay for the air time some how and how they do it is by payimg you less!!!! www.PreferredGoldBuyers.com

femail80
femail80

After reading this article I got curious and just googled this guy.... http://www.marketwatch.com/sto... 

I guess he really is the devil because clearly the devil is interested in helping young children out of human sex trafficking. Nice! way to go Houston Press. you guys suck.

femail80
femail80

for starters I came across this "news" article trying to look up the phone number for Gold and Silver Buyers and I really could give two shits less about a news article. Seriously? This just seems like someone who isn't happy with this guy. I guess if I am going to believe this article then I should also believe the New York times when they wrote that we were going into another Ice Age back in 73'. Obviously reporters know so much more than we do. Here is an idea.....why don't we report on important things...such as the homeless that are everywhere or I don't know say the economic crisis that is making people sell their gold to have money. Now that seems like a much better idea.

Erin
Erin

Personal attack? Someone must have some type of hatred to be pouncing on an man that has helped people when they're in need for cash. This isn't politics. I will continue to go to their gold buying stores, they still pay the most than anyone else I've gone to. This personal issue doesn't matter at all this doesn't change their continued success and convenience they offer to the community.

disgusted too
disgusted too

The person who wrote this article  seems to be envious of a man who may have had some  set backs in life, yet manage to get back on his feet and become a very successful business man.  I have personally been in the G & S Buyer stores and they not only paid me top dollar for my gold, they were very friendly AND professional.  Most of what this person said is probably false, so the only purpose of the article is for malicious purposes.  Besides, G & S Buyers, Inc. is a corporation, what does this have to do with one person?  Who cares what one person may have done 20 years ago? I believe you people need to find something better to do with your time, maybe you could be successful too!

What??
What??

How can you judge someone over something that hasn't been proven to be true? I researched this, and most of what this writer has posted is FALSE. I don't understand how people can be so foolish to believe something like this. This person is just mean spirited, and probably jealous of the success of Gold & Silver Buyers. I can personally confirm that Gold & Silver Buyers is a honest and good company. I have sold my gold to them, and they always pay the most. 

Happy Customer
Happy Customer

I inherited some jewelry that I’ve been holding onto but when I saw the prices go over $1,700 this week for gold – I decided to sell. I stopped by a well known pawn shop and was disgusted at their price. I then stopped by Gold & Silver Buyers Barker Cypress location and Sharon explained the process to me. The price she gave me was about 40% higher than what the pawn shop offered. The only thing I’m concerned about is who pays the most and I found that to be Gold & Silver Buyers.

Jeff
Jeff

I've watched the price of gold climb and decided to finally cash in last week. I went to three different places and found Gold & Silver Buyers to pay the most. Scott at the Rayford store was professional, weighed my items in front of me and gave me a quote that I was more than happy to accept. I've already recommended friends and suggest that you not believe everything you read - go see for yourself that you will be paid the most at Gold & Silver Buyers.

Free from GSB
Free from GSB

As a former employee of GSB, I can tell you that Brian is the king of shady business practices.  He changed the pay scale of all employee's 3 times while I was there without telling everyone, took away everyone's bonuses for a week because his advertising costs have went up.  I won't even get into how the company rips people off.  Don't go there unless you want pennies on the dollar!!!

Disgusted
Disgusted

I'm glad we have you here so we can all be judged before we get to the gates! Saves us a trip! Thought that's why people get sentences...to pay for their crimes. I'm glad you informed us that there is no hope for convicts and that none can be successful after they've made mistakes, paid, and repented. I've never had any issues taking my items to Gold & Silver Buyers. They are wonderful!

Walt
Walt

Where is the chron 13,11,2 and fox on this story?

Hurleymb
Hurleymb

The lady wanted to Buy a car not by a car. Where's a good editor or a 3rd grader wheb you need one

diversityman
diversityman

@daverickey3 Wow, can't say this a surprise. Karma is a Bitch. A thief is a thief is a thief. And Leopards don"t change their spots. But it is sad that Brian Culwell and Gold and Silver Buyers or Goldwiser continues to steal and harm people.

Wait, I forgot that Brian Culwell has nothing to do with Gold and Silver Buyers  or Goldwiser  LOL Well, let's hope that someone or something is prosecuted criminally and/or civilly.

daverickey3
daverickey3

@ww214 Are you surprised that a former thief is a current thief? The way they handled the name change from Gold and Silver Buyers to Goldwiser was a sure tip off that things were not well. And the Golden Egg contest thing is funny and sad. It's easy to say now. But given their history, did anyone think that Gold and Silver Buyers / Goldwiser was going to give that egg away LOL

ww214
ww214

@Sara_Ann_Graham girl Brian Culwell is a crook and scam artist. You have no idea who you are dealing with.

Dave Rickey
Dave Rickey

Culwell's wife and father in law would go to jail first. Nothing is in his name. Usually a bad sign and an indication of something. I wonder how many of those former civil judgements against him, Culwell has paid. My guess would be zero!

John Nova Lomax
John Nova Lomax

I would love to know more about what you seem to know, JackFlash. 

stardragon1963
stardragon1963

@Gpjojo 

Gpjojo If you sell Gold for a long time then I would assume you understand the fact that 14k British which by law is .585% pure and can not be under the plumb amount is correct. How ever in the USA there is a 3.5% undervalue error rate as such almost all manufactures selling in the USA create the 14K gold items at the min they can to claim it as 14K that is of course 55% so in truth that is where that number comes from If something in the USA is marked 14KP it is truly 14k and would have the .585% Now that is not defending or accusing anyone just informing you of the facts that the error rate is 3.5% for 10, 12, and 14k. It is 2% for 16,18, and 21k, it is 1% for 21.5, 22, and 24K that a gold buyer uses the actual US Percentages is not being a crook. it is sound business practice paying the real value for the item that was bought. I would also Like to point out that i am sure you did not get 93% of spot for your 14k nor did you get offered 73% of spot as spot is the price for 24K at one troy oz 31.1g and as you pointed out 14k is if British .585% and if the US it is 55% also another fact is Italy requires by law all jewelry manufactured for there country to be marked at no less than 18K however they have no regulation on under Karat min. so you can get anything from 10k to 18k and have it stamped 18k. again depends on the laws when and where it was created. again not defending anyone just clarifying your facts.

Guest
Guest

SOURCE: The Brian and Amelia Culwell Family Foundation

Could this be another scam?

HC
HC

The information is a matter of public record.  I would want to know if a gold buyer is shady, because so many of them are.  I worked for a jewelry store and a lot of rumors abound about the reputation of gold buyers who advertise on television.  The more reputable ones don't need to advertise.

Raverfourlife
Raverfourlife

Clearly this guy has some sort of agenda!  did this reporter used to be a friend, or is he a disgruntled worker himself?  this is way too personal and not good journalism.  I for one don't give a F*** who works for the company.  Are they handing out fake Ben Franklins for gold?  Seems to me they're pretty big so they must be doing something right.  I have to go now; I'm returning my Martha Stewart sheets to Macy's bahahahahaha

John Nova Lomax
John Nova Lomax

Some of these comments look a lot like those made by some guy named "Brian" on April 22 and 23, 2010. (Note: both of these so-called customer reviews were posted from the same Google account): 

Gold & Silver Buyers 9710 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77055-6213

  Very pleasant experience - Apr 23, 2010I went in to HEB yesterday and a gentleman named Ronnie helped me with my gold. I had already been to Houston Gold Exchange on Westheimer and they offered me $712. Ronnie paid me $975, and returned my diamonds that the other company was going to keep. Thank you for being honest. I will come back again.[Flag as inappropriate]2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful?  Yes - NoGold & Silver Buyers 1122 Spring Cypress Road, Spring, TX 77373  You guys gave me the most and were super nice! Thanks - Apr 22, 2010I went to three places today with my Grandmother's jewelry. She passed away and left me quite a bit. A pawn shop and a jewelry store both offered me around $1500, and another gold buyer offered to beat that at $1600. Sylvia at Gold & Silver Buyers noticed that one of the bracelets was made by tiffany, and I ended up with a check for $2814.12. Thank you so much!!! I will tell all my friends about your honest service! You made my day!

Mbradley
Mbradley

Wow - amazing how people feed off of this crap and that is exactly what this is - everyone has a past, but it's amazing how people print pieces of the truth. Brian has more than paid his dues and has helped people and families that were previously in his shoes - you are disgruntled - why - did you not do your job properly and expect a hand out?!? Get a life!

sour grapes
sour grapes

Sounds like that post is from a dishonest, lazy employee who was fired, and now is chewing on sour grapes. 

John Lomax
John Lomax

john.lomax@houstonpress.com. Your confidentiality is assured.

Ddid
Ddid

Wonderful? How can this man be wonderful? He stole the home of a woman that had two strokes. If it were your mother or your grandmother would you be so forgiving? People like Brian Culwell unfortunately know no other way to make a living other than taking advantage of those he can. Personally, I'm glad he bragged of 16 million in revenue, I'm sure the IRS is happy about it too, if they know about it.... If I were related to this man I'd be disgusted and ashamed. Fortunately, men like Brian Culwell fall because he feels the need to impress anyone and everyone. People like Brian Culwell fascinate me, they think they are smarter than everyone else. Your response is too personal, it reads as though you know him, did you know him during his incarceration, oh excuse me, incarcerations? I personally would like to thank John Lomax for writing such an amazing article. I'd love to know if there's more, in fact, I bet  there is more, I've seen it. All one has to do is search and there it is. But for now, I will leave it at this, Why is a man like Brian Culwell involved in LLC's regarding non-profit organizations? My guess is that it's a scam just like the Hakeem Olajuwon's....I sincerely hope that this wasn't just a one time article, I hope there's further investigation by John Lomax. Men like Brian Culwell leave a trail of destruction and someone has to stop him, maybe John Lomax can make a difference.

SmartMarketing
SmartMarketing

@HCReally?  Then why is it that companies like Budweiser and Doritos pay upwards of $3mil for a 30 second commercial if a reputable company doesn't need to advertise?  This kind of statement is one that is made by someone who has no concept of how businesses do business.  Probably a teacher or a janitor...same thing.  This is what businesses do, they advertise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIEzlKg1_wA

Gpjojo
Gpjojo

Houston Gold Exchange and Houston Jewelers are what we call bottom feeders and pay around 60% of spot. They.will not give you a SPOT price unless you come in. This usually equates to bottom feeders.

stardragon1963
stardragon1963

@John Lomax 

I would also ask you to do secret shopping all over the Houston and Austin area's in both Gold and Silvers and all their competitors with the same two items of jewelry, then compare and post your results. I would bet you would find that most G&S Buyers stores pay within the same % that most the other stores do with a + or - of say 4-6% or pay more. I see your facts on Brain but nothing about the G&S Buyers and the employees or the sales practice. In short your accusing all the hard working people at a real business of malice. Report honestly both sides of the story is all I ask. Reporters always used to do that and I sure miss trusting what I read. 

femail80
femail80

it really sounds like you must know him. Interesting. Sad and interesting.

Disgusted
Disgusted

No, no personal relation to the man that everyone is so quick to nail to the cross. I am currently almost done with my Masters in Criminal Justice. If you knew anything about that you'd know that Texas' "tough on crime" mentality has led to the highest incarceration rate in the U.S. With that being said, I'm sure he deserved the punishment he got. He has served his sentence. Let the man turn his life around and move on. He didnt kill or rape anyone. HE PAID FOR HIS MISTAKES. Let him be. As stated in another posted comment, Gold & Silver Buyers does not seem to reflect any of Culwell's past dealings. If he is a scam artist, why pay the most? It doesn't make sense. He's a crook for giving people more money than anyone else for their precious metals? Think about this logically!! That doesn't sound like scum criminal to me!! Sounds like a profitable business!!

stardragon1963
stardragon1963

@Gojojo 

Again read my reply to you above. Also every business has overhead do you think that any Gold buyer can pay spot percentages at 95% take the cost of electric, rent, employees, benys, refinery, and resale of finished processed gold into account and that is also not adding in advertising. And say a modest 5% profit margin.  Your asking gold buyers to give you free money and take a loss on every deal. no other company that is out there to make a profit operates at a loss they factor in all of the above when figuring out what to charge you for there service. or to give you when buying your products. I can tell you that I do shop all the other stores and make sure I offer the highest totals in my area. I even will beat a written quote from other local stores. So please do not throw the employees who work hard and give the best price they can crap. Yes Brain has done bad things in the past and now he and his wife have a thriving business that is doing well. He discovered a niche market and is offering a service that has allowed him to turn his life around.  I would not work here if I were told I had to rip people off to make a living. We are told to shop the other stores in our area, Pawn shops, Fast cash, and other Gold buyers and make sure we do give the most. I do take offence that you imply without facts that all the people working at G&S B are evil. 

Gojojo
Gojojo

he does not pay the most read gpjojo comment.  his melt price taking advantage people again.

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