US Coins

Minnesota coin dealer heads to federal prison for sales of counterfeits

Minnesota coin dealer Barry Ron Skog headed to federal prison July 9 on charges of selling counterfeit coins.

Mug shot courtesy of Dakota County (Minnesota) Sheriff's Department; Background image courtesy of Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation.

Convicted Minnesota coin dealer Barry Ron Skog, 68, as part of a plea agreement escaped a lengthy federal prison sentence July 9, but will spend time incarcerated for selling counterfeit United States coins.

U.S. District Court Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright in St. Paul, Minnesota, sentenced Skog to 30 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay restitution to his victims.

Skog pleaded guilty Feb. 21 to one count of sale of counterfeit coins and one count of mail fraud.

As part of the plea agreement, four additional charges of sales of counterfeit coins were dropped.

Skog faced a maximum of 15 years in prison on each of the sales of counterfeit coins and 20 years on the mail fraud charge.

According to the plea agreement, Skog owned and operated a mail-order business called Burnsville Coin Company, through which he devised a scheme, from June 2012 through October 2015, to advertise and sell counterfeit coins by fraudulently representing that the coins were genuine and worth hundreds of dollars. The plea agreement described how through his business Skog posted advertisements in Numismatic News.

The plea agreement stated that Skog sold counterfeit coins to at least 12 separate victims and fraudulently obtained approximately $57,524.29. It noted that he “also intended to create additional loss by advertising for sale 275 additional counterfeit coins at an advertised sale value of approximately $235,000.”

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 PCGS’s parent firm.

The civil lawsuit was filed on Dec. 7, 2010, in the United States District Court, Central District of California, and accused Skog and his coin business of selling during the previous four years counterfeit rare coins not marked COPY and housed in counterfeit PCGS holders, made to order from Chinese manufacturers.

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