This news story came across the my nightly news and it is one of the main reasons I started this blog. Buying coins is a treacherous game if you don't do some research. Several scam artists in Long Island got $60 million from the unaware.
When I quote prices it is the amount that you would pay if you wanted buy the exact same coin. This is not a buyers price and can often vary in value depending on where you live. I use the word "about" to let you know this is an educated guess.
9 To Be Arraigned In Long Island Coin Scam
ROB HOELL REPORTING via WPIX.com
November 24, 2008
COPIAGUE, N.Y. - Three brothers, a brother-in-law, and six others were rounded up by U.S postal police in raids that happened early Monday morning.
The Long Island men are accused of running an elaborate scam by defrauding hundreds of senior citizens across the country.
Officials say the group operated out of a Copiague store front, and other Long Island locations, aggressively telemarketing elderly men and women mostly in the Mid-West. The senior citizens were tricked into investing their life savings into what they believed were rare coins.
"Many of the seniors were told that these coins would increase in value and that there were investors lining up to buy the coins from them," said U.S. Postal Inspector Allan Weissmann.
Postal inspectors say the men were ripping off seniors for the past seven years to the tune of $60 million.
Michael Romano, along with his brother Joseph who has yet to be arrested, are said to be the masterminds behind the ruthless scam that emptied bank accounts and shattered dreams.
People who work near "All American Coin" on Montauk Highway in Copiague tell us they always suspected something wasn't on the level.
"Nobody was allowed in," one nearby worker said. "No customers off the street."
Postal inspectors say victims were over charged between 80-90% of what the coins were really worth.
"When they called to find out when they would be able to sell their coins, they were actually convinced to buy additional coins," Weissman said. "They were told this is what the investor wanted, so they would buy more coins and be in debt at an even high rate."
Postal inspectors say a woman in Chicago who recently passed away was scammed out $1.5 million dollars.
I understand times are tough and you want to make some quick money but coins are generally not a great investment especially under $10,000. I love finding coins because I lose nothing plus when I buy it's for enjoyment.
Ask here, ask at a forum, just ask before getting thinking you're about to score the big one.
HOW THE SCAM WORKED
What the defendants are accused of:
INFLATING COIN VALUE. The men are accused of telling buyers that the coins (often Benjamin Franklin half dollars) were in better condition than they really were. Coins were often worth 10 percent of what buyers were told.
SELLING 'WASHED' COINS. Chemically "washed" coins look like they're in mint condition, but have less value.
TARGETING VICTIMS. Police say the men identified customers as "whales" - those to whom they could sell hundreds of thousands of dollars in overgraded coins. One woman paid $478,622 for coins worth $52,691.
HIGH-PRESSURE SALES. Convincing purchasers to buy more coins by saying they had investors lined up to buy them at higher prices. But when time came to resell the coins, the defendants would say the investors had "backed out."
One victim, identified as John Doe No. 2, paid about $350,000 for multiple rolls of coins, a federal complaint said. An independent appraiser later assessed the coins' worth at between $15,000 and $25,000.
Do you have a coin and want to know its value? Leave a comment/question and I will do my best to find out the price and history for you.