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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 9, 2016

Waterville Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Counterfeit Coins

Contact: F. Todd Lowell
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel: (207) 945-0373

Bangor, Maine:  United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced that Mwashuma M. Sithole, 31, of Waterville, Maine pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to selling counterfeit coins. 

Court records show that the defendant began ordering counterfeit Morgan dollars online in May 2014.  Over the next several months, the defendant placed orders online for items that looked like genuine Morgan dollar coins.  The Morgan dollar is a United States dollar coin minted from 1878 to 1904 and then again in 1921.  The coins that the defendant ordered and received were offered as counterfeits and made in China.  The defendant would pay about $2 each for the coins.  The coins resembled genuine Morgan dollars in appearance, design, and weight.

The defendant sold and pawned several counterfeit Morgan dollars in Maine in 2014.  He knew that the coins were counterfeit but told the buyers that the coins were genuine Morgan dollars.  He sold and pawned coins in Augusta, Newport, Farmington, Lewiston, and South Portland.  Law enforcement officers executed a warrant at the defendant’s residence on January 22, 2015.  They seized approximately 1200 counterfeit Morgan coins that belonged to the defendant.  

Sithole faces up to 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and he may be ordered to pay restitution.  He will also forfeit all of the coins seized from him.  He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office. 

The investigation was conducted by the Augusta Police Department, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Waterville Police Department, the Auburn Police Department, the Lewiston Police Department, the South Portland Police Department, the Newport Police Department, the Maine State Police, and the United States Secret Service.

Component(s): 
Updated May 11, 2016