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All Posts Tagged With: "Theft"

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 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…)

Coin Dealer Julian Leidman Victim of Vehicle Burglary. Reward Grows to $156,000

Updated 10/19/2009 – The Township of Montville, New Jersey police department is investigating the October 11, 2009 auto burglary of coin dealer Julian Leidman. Mr. Leidman was en route home after participating in Coinfest Coin Show held in Stamford Connecticut. The suspect or suspects entered Leidman’s vehicle by smashing out a side window during a stop in Pine Brook, New Jersey. Virtually his entire inventory was taken ; over 1,000 coins including about 300 certified, encapsulated items as well as currency ranging from Colonial era to small size notes. Fortunately, Mr. Leidman was unhurt in the incident.

coin_crime_alertMr Leidman stated some of the significant coins included; ” several scarce Saints, 1920-s, 1921, 1925-s, 1927-s, & 1932. There is a 1794 dollar that is flawed. There are several Gem Busties, including 1806 O-123, prime; 1807 O-113, 1826, 1829, 1832. There is currency from colonial thru small size; some foreign coins from minor thru gold, probably numbering a few hundred coins. The most identifiable is a 1929 German 5 Mark that is about 25% off center and probably unique.” Other coins taken in the theft include 1873 proof pattern silver Trade dollar (J-1276), graded NGC PF65; 1879 proof silver dollar (J-1617), NGC PF65; and an 1892-O proof Morgan dollar described as very choice.

leidman_79_pattern_dollarThe response from both the collector and dealer community was a mixture of shock, concern and resolve. Immediately after the burglary was announced the message boards started to inquire as to Mr. Leidman’s safety, which then spun into requests for lists of the coins taken and a number of emails sent to surrounding coin shops warning them to be on the lookout for any unusual offerings of coins.

Coinfest owners Jon Lerner and Laura Sperber each immediately offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for this robbery. This was followed up by The Professional Numismatist Guild contributing an additional $2,500 to the reward, and dealer William Dominick is contributing an additional $10,000. This was followed by others dealers contributions; John Albanese $10,000, Kenny Duncan $10,000, Kevin Lipton $10,000, Bob Higgins has added another $1000 as did James Long, and Wayne Herndon also added $2,500 to the reward fund.

Since this story was first posted additional contributions to the reward fund have come in; Matt Lerner $1,000, Joseph O’Connor $5,000, John Feigenbaum $ 2,500,James Sego $1,000, Larry Shapiro $1,000, Ray Hinkelman + Phil Hinkelman $1,000, Tom Crabtree $ 5,000, Dave Wnuck & John Agre $ 2,500, Dave Albanese $1,000, Rob Lehman $1,000, Bill Panitch $ 500, Cary Moomijian $ 1,000,Ron Chiasson $ 500, Ken Goldman $ 2,000, John Abbott $ 1,000, Michael Casper $ 1,000, Elliott Durann – $ 500, Dave Schweitz – $ 2,500, Chris McCawley – $ 1,000, John Pasciuti $1,000, Shawn Bergan $ 250, Steve Gerhinger $2,500, David Weygant $ 1,000, Jan Olav Aamlid $ 1,000, Ed Milas $ 1,000, Harry Jones $1000, Paul Montgomery $ 1,000, Harry Laibstain $ 1,000, Fred Weinberg $ 1,000, Matthew DeRoma $ 1,000, Jack Lee $ 1,000, Heritage $10000, John Maben $5000, Paul Nugget- Greg Roberts- Andrew Glassman- Bobby Avena $3500, Don Kagin $1000, Sheridan Downey $2500, Andy Lustig $1000, Jason Carter $2500, Allan Rowe $1000, Tom Bush $ 1,000, Sam Lopresto $1000, Dustin Massie $1000, Whitman Publ. $2500, Stack’s $2500, Andrew Kimmel $1000, Dana Samuelson $1000, David Hall $10000, PCGS $5000, Sil DiGenova $2000, $1000, Rocky Mountain Coin $500, Lee Minshull $5000

Presently the reward has grown to $122,500.

We urge Any Dealer or Collector to contact Detective Christopher M. Keezer of the Montville NJ Police Department at 973-257-4113 ( Julian Leidman at 301-585-8467 if they have any information about this crime, or think that any of the coins listed below are being offered for sale either online or in person. This is especially true for those attending flea markets, local auction houses, online auctions and “Brick and Mortar” coin shops on the East Coast.