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ACEF Assists in Seizure of 40,000 Fakes

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Representatives of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation and its Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACTF) on the request of the Secret Service provided on-site numismatic expertise to federal law enforcement agents in the Los Angeles area who seized more than 40,000 fake Morgan and Peace dollars, American Eagle silver bullion coins and $2.50 Indian Head gold coins.

“The counterfeits were intercepted from overseas shipments and seized during a two-month joint investigation by the Secret Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” explained ACEF Anti-Counterfeiting Director Doug Davis, who flew from Dallas, Texas, to California to assist investigators.

He and task force volunteer Lee Minshull of Palos Verdes, Calif., a longtime member of the Professional Numismatists Guild, met with federal investigators at the International Mail Facility in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance, Calif. That is where approximately 1,700 packages of seized counterfeit coin shipments were stored.

Some of the approximately 1,700 packages of seized counterfeit coin shipments that were at the International Mail Facility in Torrance, Calif.

Some of the approximately 1,700 packages of seized counterfeit coin shipments that were at the International Mail Facility in Torrance, Calif.

“There were numerous wheeled carts filled with packages that contained coins seized during the eight-week targeting operation,” said Davis. “We were told that each package contained an average of 27 to 32 coins, all of them counterfeits.”

“The quality of the hundreds of counterfeits we personally examined varied from good to very good, especially the counterfeit silver American Eagles,” stated Minshull.

This box contained a few of the thousands of counterfeit gold coins found in approximately 1,700 confiscated shipments seized in the Los Angeles area.

This box contained a few of the thousands of counterfeit gold coins found in approximately 1,700 confiscated shipments seized in the Los Angeles area.

Some of the fake Peace dollars discovered among the approximately 40,000 counterfeit silver and gold coins seized on arrival in the Los Angeles area.

Some of the fake Peace dollars discovered among the approximately 40,000 counterfeit silver and gold coins seized on arrival in the Los Angeles area.

“It appears that the fakes we saw probably were made by three different counterfeit manufacturers,” he said. “If they were genuine, the retail value of these 40,000-plus coins would be over $2 million.”

Davis said the coordination between ACEF/ACTF, Secret Service and Customs and Border protection “provided valuable intelligence information that supports our work in exposing the widespread proliferation of counterfeit coinage and precious metals into the U.S. marketplace. Most importantly the success of this operation provides us with evidence to continue educating the higher-up administration within Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection and other law enforcement agencies about the growing problem of counterfeits.”

He added: “We will be providing Secret Service with a report of our evaluation. Secret Service was very appreciative of our assistance and willingness to travel at short notice to assist in the investigation. We could not say anything publicly about this operation earlier until federal agents finished part of their investigation.”

This is only one of many cases during the past 12 months in which ACTF has provided numismatic experts to assist Secret Service and other Federal law enforcement agencies on counterfeit cases stretching across the United States.

“ACEF is playing an important role in aggressively identifying counterfeit manufacturers, organized groups, individuals, e-commerce and social platforms selling counterfeit coins and precious metals. Most importantly is the resources and experts ACEF has at its disposal to assist local, state and federal agencies during the investigative process and enhances expeditious indictments and prosecution,” Davis emphasized.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation and its volunteer task force depend entirely on the support of the numismatic profession and the hobby community. ACEF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

For more information, visit www.ACEFonline.org or email info@acefonline.org.