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All Posts Tagged With: "Numismatic Crime"

Coins and the Law: Recent Stories on Numismatic Crime

Alledged “Coin Broker” Convinced Elderly Woman to put Life Savings Into Gold Coins, then Steals them Back

The Manhattan DA’s office announced the indictment of a “rare coin broker” who allegedly convinced an elderly woman and her daughter to invest their life savings in rare gold and silver coins, and then stole $430,000 worth of the coins back from them.

The “Coin Broker/Advisor”, Stephanie Brown of Paradise Valley, Arizona, has been charged with grand larceny, fraud and forgery to name a few, and DA Cy Vance said, “The defendant preyed upon the victims’ fears of a national financial collapse and convinced them to sink their life savings into collector coins.”

According to a Wall Street Journal Article,”Over the next two and a half years, the 83-year-old mother ensnared in the alleged scheme spent $1 million — her life’s savings — and her daughter paid $80,000 to acquire about 160 coins, according to prosecutors. Brown earned $100,000 in commission on the sales.Brown began selling them coins in March of 2007, and soon convinced them to “liquidate all financial investments they held and to invest their life’s savings in gold coins.” The mother and daughter combined spent about $1.1 million on the coins, and Brown  reportedly earned commissions of about $100,000.

Brown then allegedly convinced the two to keep the coins at home, and then gained entry to their house, after which she was left alone with the coins. She is accused of destroying the documents identifying the coins and stealing 57 of their 160 coins, worth $430,000. Prosecutors have now recovered 16 of the stolen coins, which Brown had resold.

Brown is currently under investigation in connection with coin sales in California and Arizona, prosecutors said, but she has not been charged in those states. She was a former employee of ITM Trading and began her own business, GBA Gold, a/k/a GBA Investments LLC ( The Web Site has been suspended) 26546 N. Alma School Road #230 Scottsdale, AZ 85255 ( Better Business Member with an A- rating joined on 7/20/2010)

Editors Note: If you read through a number the articles written about this story, it is amazing to read certain statements and characterizations.

For example, Ms Brown was described as a “Rare Coin Expert” in one WSJ article. Funny, i thought she was just a thief and a con artist. Is she indeed a “Coin Expert” or just a person selling coins? You decide. Here is a link to a brief profile on Ms. Brown.

In another article the Daily News writer made the following comment on the Gold market; “While gold has traded at an all-time high, topping $1,400 an ounce in the past few days, collectible coins are not as safe as gold because they are gilt, not solid gold.”  Even Assistant District Attorney Adam Kaufmann gave his opinion on the coin market saying.”Gold coins are not a great hedge in these economic times” REALLY?

Finally Minyanville.com took a more political angle on the story with their headline “Gold Coin Scammer Takes Page From Glenn Beck’s Playbook” Somehow I don’t think this story has anything to do with Glen Beck, Fox News, Goldline or NY Rep Wiener. Give it a rest….

Stolen Coins Removed from London Auction

The Sofia News Agency reported that Bulgarian medieval coins which were to part of a Nov 10th auction by Classical Numismatic Group, Inc in London has been removed from the sale, including a very rare silver penny of despot Dobrotitsa, minted in Kaliakra.

In 2007, a collection of 500 medieval crosses and 2 000 medieval coins, including the said silver penny, were stolen from the home of one of the authors of the book titled “Bulgarian Antique Coins from the 9th to the 15th Century Period” , published in 1999.

After the joint operation between the Main Directorate “Criminal Police,” the Bulgarian Culture Ministry, and the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassations, the Bulgarian medieval coins have been taken off the auction site and their sale halted. (more…)

Stolen Coin Alert: St. Paul, Minnesota

Numismatic Crime Information Crime Bulletin/Alert

The South St. Paul Minnesota Police Department is investigating the September 26, 2010 vehicle burglary of coin dealer Lee Orr. At approximately 2:10pm in the afternoon the victim was loading his vehicle preparing to leave a local coin show in South St. Paul.

When the victim walked back inside the show to retrieve the last of his inventory two white male suspects smashed the windows in his vehicle and removed two cases of coins.

The following is a partial list of coins;
GOLD COINS: 2 1895 $20 Lib Au/Bu Raw 1 1896 $20 Lib Au/Bu Raw 2 1897-S $20 Lib Au/Bu Raw 1 1900 $20 Lib Au/Bu Raw 1 1901 $20 Lib Au/Bu Raw 1 1904 $20 Lib Au/Bu Raw 1 1906 $20 Lib Au/Bu Raw D or S 1 1907 $20 Lib Au/Bu Raw D or S 7 1908 $20 Saint Au/Bu Raw 3 1910-S $20 Saint Au/Bu Raw 1 1913 $20 Saint AU Raw 1 1913-D $20 Saint AU Raw 1 1914-S $20 Saint Au/Bu Raw 1 1915-S $20 Saint Au/Bu Raw 4 1922

DOLLARS: 1 1903-S $1 NGC MS62 White 2 1903-O $1 PCGS MS63 White 1 1901-S $1 PCGS MS64 White 1 1894 $1 VF/XF Raw 1 1893-S $1 PCGS VG original 1 1892-CC $1 AU Raw – White Dipped out. 1 1885-S $1 PCGS MS63 White

HALF DOLLARS – CENTS: 1 1806 50c ANACS VF30 Deep Gray toning with blue between rims & stars 1 1806 50c VF Raw 1 1808/7 50c AU Raw 1 1809 50c AU Raw 1 1811 50c AU Raw 1 1839-O 50c XF/AU Raw – Cleaned & retoned 1 1872-CC 50c VF/XF Raw – Cleaned & retoned 1 1923-S 25c XF40 Raw 1 1896-S 25c AG Raw 2 1896-S 25c Good Raw 1 1913-S 25c Good Raw 1 1807 10c VF Raw – Obv 1 1812 1c AU Raw – Distinct Rim Nick showing bright copper color

4 Double Row Boxes Raw Collector Coins with many key dates 1 Double Row Box Slabs Dollars after 1880, Commemoratives, Gold.

Any dealer or collector having information regarding this offense should contact:
Det. Julie Bishop
South St. Paul PD
612-747-2409
Or
Doug Davis
Numismatic Crime Information Center
817-723-7231

The Numismatic Crime Information Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation established as a resource for dealers, collectors, victims and law enforcement during the investigation of a numismatic crime. All donations are tax deductible.

Gold Shipwreck Bar Valued at $550,00 Stolen from Mel Fisher Museum

One of the most iconic and best-known objects’ at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum was taken. The gold bar came from a 1622 shipwreck that Fisher discovered.

The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida holds the richest single collection of 17th-century maritime and shipwreck antiquities in the Western Hemisphere, including treasures and artifacts from the Atocha and Santa Margarita.

It was reported that two thieves entered a museum shortly after closing at 5PM and stole a 74.85-ounce, 11-inch (28-centimeter) gold bar which was inside a glass display case with a small opening where visitors could stick a hand inside and lift the bar to examine it.

Photo Credit: Miami Herald/Florida Keys News Bureau

Police and the FBI are working to identify the suspects who took the gold bar which had been on display for more than 20 years. Surveillance captures caught the faces of these two men, believed to be the suspects who walked off with the gold bar.

According to Alyson Crean, Key West Police spokeswoman, one suspect is described as a white male, about six feet tall with dark hair and a medium build. The second suspect is about five feet, six inches tall.

Anyone with information about these men should contact the Key West Police Department at (305) 809-1111.

The Gold bar has an estimated value of $550,000 and the Museums insurance company is offering a $10 thousand reward.

“Everybody who comes to the museum is encouraged to lift the gold bar and to have a firsthand experience with history,” said Melissa Kendrick, the museum’s executive director. “This is one of the most iconic and best-known objects in the museum.”

“The security systems worked because we knew the bar was stolen within 10 minutes, and we have usable video and photos for law enforcement,” Kendrick said. “The museum made a decision to designate this as a handling object, allowing people to touch the artifact, and this was part of the risk involved in granting public access.”