Former u.S. mint police officer pleads guilty to theft of $2.4 million in error coins from the u.S. mint
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2011
CAMDEN, N.J. – A North Wildwood, N.J., man who worked as a police officer at the U.S. Mint today admitted 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 J. Fishman announced.
William Gray, 64, 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, pleaded guilty today to two counts of an Information charging him with theft of government property and tax evasion. He entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court. He remains free on $50,000 bail pending his sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 20, 2011.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Gray admitted that between June 1996 and January 2011 he was employed by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia as a Mint police officer. Starting about 2007, Gray regularly took several small bags to the coining area, 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 admitted he then 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 admitted to receiving approximately $2.4 million for the error coins. The coin distributor sent all checks for payment by FedEx to Gray’s residence in North Wildwood. Gray admitted the $2.4 million from the coin distributor was deposited into his Police and Fire Federal Credit Union account.
Gray admitted that between 2007 and 2009, he failed to report the sale of the coins on his income tax return. Gray admitted he understated his tax liability by approximately $801,651.
The theft of government property charge to which Gray pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The tax evasion charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff, and special agents of the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Assistant Inspector General for Investigations P. Brian Crane, for the investigation of the case – along with the assistance of U.S. postal inspectors, under the direction of Postal Inspector in Charge Karen Higgins and officers of the Mint Police, under the direction of Mint Chief of Police Dennis O’Connor.
The U.S. Mint has advised that it has implemented measures to improve security within all its facilities.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Defense counsel: Brian McMonagle Esq., Philadelphia