The Press of Atlantic City published an article this weekend that sheds a little more light on the story of the U.S. Mint guard arrested for stealing and selling error coins.
Mint police officer William Gray, 64, pleaded guilty in September to stealing an estimated 32,000 defective coins, federal court records in Camden show.
Gray sold the coins to a California collector for as much as $75 apiece, court records show.
The theft prompted the agency to conduct a security review at all six of its minting facilities nationwide, spokesman Michael White said. Tourists at the U.S. Mint must pass through metal detectors and leave their cameras at the door before they can watch the coining process from behind glass walls.
Neither the U.S. Mint nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office would say how the theft of so much currency from a facility as famed for its security went undiscovered for three years. Gray would not divulge his secret either.
“I ain’t talking to nobody,” Gray said when reached for comment at his North Wildwood home. He remains free on $50,000 bail until his Dec. 20 sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden.
Gray retired as a Philadelphia police officer after 26 years before joining the mint, where he worked from 1996 to January 2011.
He began stealing from the nation’s largest mint in 2007 when it released new $1 coins featuring the portraits of American presidents, court records show. Over the next three years, prosecutors said, he hid defective coins in containers that he smuggled out of the mint for sale to an unnamed collector in California.
Gray mailed the coins from the Middle Township Post Office in Rio Grande near his North Wildwood home to a coin distributor in California who specialized in selling these kinds of defective coins, court records said.
This distributor sent Gray 50 checks totaling $2.4 million. Gray faces charges of income-tax evasion for allegedly not reporting this income, prosecutors said.
He faces as long as 20 years in prison at sentencing and must pay back the $2.4 million value of the coins in monthly installments of $1,000. At this rate, it would take the government 200 years to recoup the stolen proceeds.
As part of his plea agreement, Gray must forfeit two homes he owns in Philadelphia along with five vehicles, including a 2010 Lincoln MKS, and a small fishing boat. He can keep his North Wildwood home, which is his primary residence.
Meanwhile, U.S. Mint officials said they are taking steps to close loopholes in their security.
50 checks for 32,000 coins at $75 bucks apiece: $2.4M. That's a lotta change. So if the dealer bought them for $75, what was he selling them for? At only $150 a pop he'd double his money and clear a cool $2.4 million of his own. But I'll bet the average selling price was a lot higher. That kind of money will buy the fence a high-powered legal defense. Unless the feds make him (or her) forfeit the proceeds. And what about the collectors who bought the coins from the fence? This story will get more interesting before all the dust settles.
To read the complete article, see:
U.S. Mint reviewing security after Cape May County man steals $2.4 million in coins
Wayne Homren, Editor
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