US Coins

CU wins suit over fake slabs

Collectors Universe — parent company of Professional Coin Grading Service — won a default judgment in the lawsuit that it initiated in a California federal court accusing a dealer of selling Chinese counterfeit coins in fake PCGS holders.

The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 7, 2010, in the United States District Court, Central District of California, against Burnsville, Minn., rare coin firm Burnsville Coin Co., and its CEO, Barry Skog. CU accused the firm and Skog of selling over the prior four years counterfeit rare coins not marked COPY, housed in counterfeit PCGS holders made to order from Chinese manufacturers.

The complaint 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 the defendants in April 2010 for $12,400. The coins were determined to be counterfeit, as were the PCGS holders encapsulating them.

On April 28, the court issued a default judgment against Skog, noting that he failed to appear and answer to the complaint. He was ordered to pay CU attorney fees of $7,000 and costs of $1,230, a total of $8,230. The order also permanently enjoined Skog and his agents, officers, employees and attorneys from manufacturing and importing counterfeit PCGS holders and from selling any coin, real or counterfeit, in counterfeit PCGS holders.

He was also ordered to immediately destroy all counterfeit PCGS holders in his possession, including PCGS coin inserts.

The initial lawsuit included unnamed John Doe defendants 1-25 that would have allowed the case to be expanded, but the case was terminated on May 4 without additional defendants being added. On May 16, the court filed a certification of judgment confirming that Skog had not filed an appeal to the decision. ¦

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