Wealthy Max publicly unseals 13 tons of coins
- Published: Apr 7, 2016, 4 AM
A Chinese firm has begun a media campaign aimed to clear its name in a dispute involving the U.S. Mint and recycled U.S. coins.
The firm also aims to obtain release of millions of dollars in compensation from recycled U.S. coins under the U.S. Mint’s currently suspended Mutilated Coin Redemption Program. To that end, China-based Wealth Max Ltd. conducted what company officials said was an open inspection Feb. 23, in front of television cameras, of crates containing 13 metric tons of coins.
Wealthy Max Ltd. is one of three China-connected firms that are fighting civil forfeiture efforts on the part of the U.S. Mint to seize previously submitted shipments and deny compensation for the seized coins.
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Alleging fraud by Wealthy Max Ltd. and two other vendors, America Naha Inc. and XRace Sports Co. Ltd., the Mint filed civil forfeiture proceedings in federal court March 20, 2015, seeking retention of the suspect shipments.
Wealthy Max seeks payment of $2.388 million it claims the U.S. Mint owes the firm for a June 2014 shipment of damaged coins accepted by the U.S. Mint, as well as for two other shipments, with a total value together of more than $5.4 million.
Wealthy Max was informed in March 2015 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey that the June 2014 shipment was subject to civil forfeiture and that the firm was being accused of trafficking in counterfeit coins.
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The two additional shipments seized, delivered in October 2014 and March 2015, had a total value of $3.25 million, according to Wealthy Max.
Wealthy Max filed suit in federal court on Oct. 29, 2015, seeking payment for the October 2014 and March 2015 shipments.
The same day, U.S. Mint officials announced a six-month suspension of the Mutilated Coin Redemption Program. That suspension became effective Nov. 2 while an investigation is conducted into alleged wrongdoing associated with the program.
Wealthy Max Ltd. sent out invitations Jan. 21, 2016, to representatives of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology and senior officials from the Departments of the Treasury, Justice and Homeland Security to attend a Feb. 23 briefing and product audit in Hong Kong.
None of the invitations was accepted, according to Wealthy Max officials.
Wealthy Max also arranged for travel Feb. 24 to a facility in Foshan, People’s Republic of China, to visit the hand-sorting process at metal recycling companies where Wealthy Max sources the mutilated U.S. coins.
The Feb. 23 inspection of crates of salvaged coins, after unsealing, was overseen by former U.S. FBI agents who are members of FormerFedsGroup.com, according to Wealthy Max.
In a video filmed on behalf of Wealthy Max (viewable online at http://bit.ly/1nuFDdT), FormerFedsGroup Director Steve Gomez explains that each of the 13 crates contains a metric ton of mutilated coins as per the U.S. Mint standard.
A sample from one of the crates, representing 22 pounds or 1 percent of the total weight of one crate randomly selected, was taken after unsealing the crate and further mixing the coins so the sample did not just come from the top, Gomez said.
While crates contained copper-nickel clad dimes and quarter dollars, the bulk of the sample was quarter dollars dated 1965 to 2013, except for 1975, Gomez said, as no coins dated 1975 were struck by the U.S. Mint.
The coins in the sample were separated by date and denomination on paper sheets spread out on the concrete floor of the Yuen Long facility where the mutilated coins had been stored.
“This unsealing and audit followed a very strict set of rules established by U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to ensure a clear chain of evidence that will hold up in court,” Gomez said. “Our agents have a deep understanding of these rules as they have conducted hundreds of investigations and are experts in the proper handling of physical and documentary evidence.”
Wealthy Max has been engaged in redeeming damaged coins from Chinese scrap recycling processors for more than 12 years, with over 160 shipments of coins shipped to the U.S. Mint without any problems, under the Mutilated Coin Redemption Program, Wealthy Max officials state.
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