Pinching Pennies Is Illegal If You Do It This Way
A New Jersey man who worked as a police officer at the U.S. Mint has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for stealing $2.4 million worth of error coins from the U.S. Mint and selling them to a coin distributor in California.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman says William Gray who sent the coins to the coin dealer through the U.S. Mail and FedEx and failed to pay taxes on the proceeds of the sales, previously pleaded guilty to two counts charging him with theft of government property and tax evasion.
Gray admits that in 2007 he regularly took several small bags to the coining area at the U.S./ Mint in Philadelphia, where Presidential $1 coins were made. The minting of the coins was a two-step process, with the initial stamping imprinting the obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) images and a second stamping imprinting the edge lettering. Gray said he took Presidential $1 coins with the missing edge lettering, knowing they would be considered more valuable to coin collectors because they were considered “mint errors.”
He admits he smuggled the error coins out of the Mint and eventually shipped them to a coin distributor in California from the U.S. Post Office in Rio Grande, N.J., or the FedEx location in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. Gray says he received approximately $2.3 million for the error coins. The coin distributor sent all checks for payment by FedEx to Gray’s residence in North Wildwood. Gray admits the $2.4 million from the coin distributor was deposited into his Police and Fire Federal Credit Union account.
In addition to the prison term, Gray has been sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $15,208 in restitution to the U.S. Mint, forfeit $2.3 million and cooperate with the IRS to resolve his tax liability.