US Coins

Officials seize fake coins, notes at Chicago mail facility

A large quantity of coins and $100 notes seized by the U.S. Customs & Border Protection agency included over 6,000 dollar coins, illustrated by this bogus 1881 Morgan dollar.

All images courtesy of U.S. Customs & Border Protection.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Chicago’s International Mail Facility recently seized 281 packages containing various counterfeit coins and $100 bills with 95% of the shipments arriving from China.

The first two shipments were snared on April 16. The first package, destined for a residence in Georgia, contained 1,492 $100 bills ($149,200). The second parcel, bound for a residence in Texas, contained 97 $100 bills ($9,700). Both shipments were declared as bar props; however, counterfeiting Federal Reserve notes is a federal crime.

On April 21, CBP officers seized 279 parcels in four different shipments, all containing various denominations of coins. In total, 6,667 counterfeit coins were in the four shipments, according to the CBP.

The report stated that officers seized 39 “.50 cent coins” (which may mean half dollars), 6,345 dollar coins, and 283 $2.50 coins. Officials did not describe the coins in numismatic terms, and the design descriptions given did not fully match the stated denominations. For example, a CBP press release stated, “Most of the coins had a buffalo, a bald eagle or native Americans embossed on the coins; collector items which are sold for profit.”

No U.S. coins of the mentioned denominations bear an image of a bison or buffalo. Officials provided Coin World with an image of a counterfeit 1881 Morgan dollar, and an image accompanying the online version of the CBP press release illustrated the obverse of a 1936 Indian Head 5-cent coin.

The face value of this bogus currency was calculated at $165,972.

“The counterfeit currency is seized under Counterfeit U.S. Currency, Coins or Government Securities,” the CBP media statement said.

“Counterfeiting is a lucrative business which is often used to finance illegal activities such as trafficking in human beings, drugs, and even terrorism,” said Mike Pfeiffer, Assistant Area Port Director-Chicago. “These are significant seizures made by officers which prevents criminal groups from targeting our citizens, businesses and the security of the United States.”

The media statement adds that, according to the Secret Service, special agents and investigative analysts from around the country continue to work closely with state and local law enforcement partners to minimize risks by informing the public and apprehending those responsible for passing counterfeit currency.

CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration, the CBP statement concludes.

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