Woman Charged with Selling Counterfeit Gold Coins

July 23, 2012 – A Faribault, Minnesota woman has been charged with selling counterfeit gold coins to a Burnsville gold dealer. The company suffered a loss of more than $8,000 due to the crime.

Alicia Ann Mansfield, 19, has been charged with theft by swindle, a felony entailing the possibility of a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

The criminal complaint states the Burnsville police were summoned to the unnamed gold dealership on April 17 to investigate a transaction allegedly involving counterfeit coins.

An employee had paid Mansfield $8,250 for what were believed to be 50 gold Kruggerand coins, according to the complaint. The country of South Africa first minted the Kruggerand in 1967 to market the country’s gold, for which the country is well-known.

Mansfield sold the coins in three transactions on April 16. At first, Mansfield sold 20 Kruggerands for $165 per coin, then “quickly returned to the store and sold 10 more for the same amount.” During a third return visit, Mansfield sold 20 more Kruggerands for $165 per coin. Another employee later inspected the Kruggerands and determined them to be counterfeit.

At first, the store employee contacted the seller, Mansfield, to inform her the coins were counterfeit and ask for the return of the company’s money. Mansfield denied any knowledge of the coins being counterfeit and claimed she could not return the money because it had been used in the purchase of a car, according to the complaint.

When the police contacted Mansfield, she stated she received $8,250 for the coins and she knew them to be counterfeit. She also told the police that she had sold the coins because she needed the money and that she had split the company’s money with her supplier and used her share to buy baby products, according to the complaint.

As the rise in prices of gold and silver bullion have brought about greater value in the coins in recent years, coupled with higher prices for everyday products, there has been an increase in the incidence of gold and silver coin counterfeiting.

Executives of the Professional Coin Grading Service, a nationally recognized coin-grading firm, recently met with lawmakers in Washington, D.C. in order to discuss the problem of counterfeit coins on the American market. The coins currently in question by the PCGS are counterfeits of numismatic coins produced in China. Chinese counterfeiting is seen as the most serious challenge in collectibles markets and even for the United States Treasury, accord to PCGS.

The coins sold by Mansfield are considered rare, as counterfeit Kruggerands are typically not seen on the open market. It is not known at this point whether the coins came from China.

Mansfield is scheduled to make an appearance on the charge on July 30 in Dakota County District Court in Hastings, Minnesota.

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