A federal grand jury in Minnesota returned a six-count criminal
indictment April 10 charging 67-year-old coin dealer Barry Ron Skog
with five counts related to the sale of counterfeit U.S. coins and one
count of mail fraud.
Skog operated Burnsville Coin Company and also sold coins at a
display operated from an antique store in Stillwater, Minnesota.
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The indictment was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.
The indictment indicates that, through his business Burnsville Coin
Company, Skog placed advertisements in the weekly hobby publication
The indictment alleges that between June 2012 and October 2016, Skog
placed advertisements for United States coins claiming they were
genuine and worth hundreds of dollars.
The five counterfeit coins that Skog was indicted for having sold to
three different buyers were an 1844 and an 1853 Seated Liberty dollar,
an 1873 and an 1885 Seated Liberty half dollar, and an 1875 Seated
Liberty 20-cent coin. The total value of the fraud is indicated to
“When potential buyers responded to the advertisements, the
defendant often mailed them, via the U.S. Postal Service, lists of
additional available coins for purchase,” the indictment states.
It also notes that when Skog communicated with victims he would
often represent himself as “Ron Peterson” and claim to be an employee
of the Burnsville Coin Company, when in fact there were no owners or
employees of the company other than Skog.
Each count of selling counterfeit U.S. coins carries a fine or
imprisonment for up to 15 years, or both.
The alleged fraud was investigated by Agent Joe Boche with the
Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau as well as investigators with the
Burnsville Police Department in Minnesota. Two members of the Industry
Council for Tangible Assets Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force, of
which Boche is a member, assisted with the investigation. Authorities
also worked closely with the Numismatic
Crime Information Center.
Upon conviction on any of the five counts, the indictment seeks
forfeiture of property, including “approximately 3,000 numismatic and
current U.S. and foreign coinage and tokens, and approximate 78 bills
of collectible paper money.”
Based on evidence obtained in this case, authorities believe there
may be additional victims who have not yet been identified. Anyone
with information related to this case is encouraged to call the
Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau at 651-539-1617. Callers may remain anonymous.
In a previous incident, according to ICTA's Anti-Counterfeiting Task
Force, Collectors Universe won a default judgment against Skog in
April 2011, in which a federal court issued an order permanently
enjoining Skog from manufacturing and importing counterfeit
Professional Coin Grading Service holders. The order also enjoined him
from selling any coin, real or counterfeit, in counterfeit PCGS
holders. Collectors Universe is the parent firm of PCGS.
The civil lawsuit was filed Dec. 7, 2010, in the United States
District Court, Central District of California, accusing Skog and his
coin business of selling, during the previous four years, counterfeit
rare coins not marked COPY but, rather, housed in counterfeit PCGS
holders made to order from Chinese manufacturers.
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The lawsuit alleged violations of the Hobby Protection Act, the
Lanham Act, violation of RICO, common law fraud, conspiracy and
violation of California’s unfair competition law. It cited an example
of a North Carolina collector who purchased two Seated Liberty dollars
dated 1851 and 1858 from Skog in April 2010 for $12,400. The coins and
the PCGS holders in which they were encapsulated were determined to be counterfeit.