Mutilated coin redemption program suspension extended
- Published: Apr 29, 2016, 8 AM
The United States Mint’s six-month suspension of its Mutilated Coin Redemption Program is extended another six months beginning May 2.
Notice of the extension was published April 29 in the Federal Register.
The Mutilated Coin Redemption Program allows individuals and businesses to exchange bent and partial coins for reimbursement.
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Following an investigation into alleged irregularities associated with the program, U.S. Mint officials suspended the exchange of mutilated coins to accommodate assessment of the program’s security and development of additional safeguards.
“Since that time, the United States Mint has made significant progress in assessing the current state of the program, evaluating risks, and identifying potential remedial measures,” according to the April 29 Federal Register notice. “Additionally, the United States Mint has engaged the services of an independent contractor to assist us in these efforts.
“However, due to recent litigation involving the exchange program and more time needed to complete our work, the United States Mint is extending the suspension of its redemption of bent and partial coins for an additional period of six months.”
Tom Jurkowsky, director of the Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications, identified the independent contractor as PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Federal prosecutors say several metal recyclers based in the United States conspired in an elaborate scheme to bilk the U.S. Mint out of more than $5.4 million.
The firms were allegedly attempting to be paid for large quantities of mutilated pieces that are allegedly counterfeit U.S. coins imported from China.
A civil complaint was filed March 20, 2015, in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark, since transferred to federal court in Philadelphia, seeking forfeiture of the funds, which had not yet been paid to the recyclers for the redemption of mutilated copper-nickel clad dimes, quarter dollars and half dollars under the Mint’s Mutilated Coin Redemption Program.
The $5.4 million is currently in the custody of federal authorities, according to the complaint.
The three firms are identified as America Naha Inc., Wealthy Max Ltd. and XRace Sports Co. Ltd.
Wealthy Max Ltd. filed suit on Oct. 29, 2015, seeking return of the millions of dollars in compensation the Mint withheld from mutilated coin shipments from China in 2014 and 2015.
The suit was filed the same day the Mint announced the first six-month suspension of its Mutilated Coin Redemption Program.
As part of its effort to publicly clear the firm’s name, Wealth Max Ltd. officials on Feb. 23, 2016, conducted a public inspection of 13 metric tons of mutilated coins stored in 13 crates in a Chinese warehouse.
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