US Coins

Authorities arrest man for counterfeit sales

More than 30 separate police investigations are being conducted in states along the East Coast involving a New Jersey man arrested July 21 by the U.S. Marshals Service on fugitive warrants charging him with selling counterfeit U.S. silver dollars to dealers and collectors and using fake ID.

Brian Jenkins, 52, from Irvington, N.J., was taken into custody from his hiding place in the attic of a structure in North Brunswick Township, N.J., said Paul Fazioli, a deputy U.S. marshal and public affairs officer for the U.S. Marshals Service in Newark.

Fazioli said Aug. 3 that Jenkins was arrested under warrants served by the New York/New Jersey Fugitive Task Force, composed of investigators from federal, state and local law enforcement. He said Jenkins has an extensive criminal record.

Investigations involving Jenkins and the sale of counterfeit silver dollars are active in Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Tennessee and New Jersey, according to authorities.

He is being held in the Middlesex County Jail in New Jersey on four warrants from four different states charging him with theft by deception.

Lt. Vito Scala from the Middlesex County Jail said Aug. 4 that Jenkins is being held on $50,000 cash bail only on a warrant from North Brunswick Township police in New Jersey — and no bail on out-of-state warrants from police in Fredericksburg, Va.; Annapolis, Md.; and Fort Myers, Fla.

Jenkins has not yet been served with a warrant from police in Gadsden, Ala., charging him with theft by deception and criminal simulation, the latter for using false identification.

It is unknown which law enforcement jurisdiction in which state will be able to prosecute Jenkins first, since the U.S. Secret Service has also entered the case and federal charges could be possible.

Jim Mottola, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Newark office based in Morristown, said Aug. 4 that federal investigators were called in by North Brunswick Township, N.J., police to assist them in the ongoing investigation. Mottola said there is currently no federal prosecution involving Jenkins in New Jersey.

Persons with information about the scam or who may have been duped by Jenkins are asked to call the Secret Service’s Newark office at (973) 971-3115.

Credits Coin World

In an Aug. 3 news release announcing Jenkins’ arrest, Gadsden (Ala.) Police Capt. Regina May cited Coin World’s publishing in print and posting online the June 23 sale at a Gadsden pawn shop of 40 counterfeit Draped Bust, Morgan and Peace silver dollars for $1,120 by a man alleged to be Jenkins using a fake New Jersey driver’s license.

Investigators believe the counterfeit coins were made in China.

Preliminary information about the scam had originally been published in and posted online by The Gadsden Times on June 28. Coin World picked up the story and developed its own illustrated article for the July 25 print issue and online at

The July 25 Coin World was mailed and posted online July 11. According to Capt. May, Coin World’s article helped authorities.

“The release was picked up by Coin World Magazine, causing a flood of information to come in,” Capt. May said. “In working this case, [Gadsden Police] Detective John Hallman networked with investigators from Maryland to Florida.”

Jenkins allegedly peddled fake silver dollars to numerous shops in the southeast and along the Eastern Seaboard using a variety of fake ID cards, according to Capt. May. The last place one of the ID cards was used was in Knoxville, Tenn., on July 20, where Jenkins was identified from bank video, May said.

According to Detective Darrell DeBusk, public information officer for the Knoxville Police Department, Jenkins met a Knoxville coin dealer on July 20 and allegedly arranged to sell a binder or folder containing 93 purported silver dollars dated from the late 1700s and early 1800s for $2,511.

Jenkins allegedly wanted payment in cash, not a check, and accompanied the coin dealer to the bank to get payment. Jenkins was filmed on bank surveillance video and subsequently identified, Detective DeBusk said Aug. 4.

DeBusk said authorities in Knoxville were seeking a warrant to serve on Jenkins in New Jersey charging him in association with the sale of the bogus coins.

Authorities used the Global Positioning System attached to Jenkins’ cell phone to track him to the location where he was found hiding, according to May.

A search of Jenkins’ vehicle turned up an undisclosed number of counterfeit silver dollars, May said.

The July 25 Coin World article illustrated two of 40 counterfeit coins that the owner of Mal’s Jewelry & Loan allegedly purchased from Jenkins — an 1804 Draped Bust dollar of which only 15 genuine pieces are known, and a 1903-CC Morgan dollar, a nonexistent coin.

May said the owner of Mal’s identified Jenkins as the man who sold him the 40 counterfeit silver dollars on June 23.

Warrants have been secured in Gadsden that charge Jenkins with felony theft by deception and a misdemeanor count of criminal simulation for using the fake identification, May said.

Jenkins faces up to 21 years in prison combined if convicted on the two charges, according to Capt. May. ¦

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