New York State Police are warning local Oneonta residents and businesses about phony coins being passed off as legitimate U.S. currency.
In Oneonta, N.Y. – about 400 kilometres east of Niagara Falls, Ont. – several local businesses have received $10 and $20 National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and the Internal Revenue Code (NORFED) “Liberty Dollar” coins as payment.
The Liberty Dollars – produced by NORFED, a now-defunct organization with the aim of providing an alternative to the currency issued by the U.S. federal government – were issued in various denominations, including $1, $5, $10, and $20 silver coins as well as a $500 gold coin.
Despite their similarity to coins produced by the U.S. Mint, NORFED “Liberty Dollars” are not legal tender, New York State Police said.
In May 2009, Liberty Dollar creator Bernard von NotHaus was charged with federal crimes for his role in producing and promoting his own currency. In July 2009, von NotHaus announced he would end the Liberty Dollar following the resolution of his case. Two years later, in March 2011, he was found guilty of “making, possessing, and selling his own currency”. He faced up to 15 years in prison; a $250,000 fine; and the forfeiture of $7 million worth of minted coins and precious metals to the U.S. government. After appealing his conviction, he was sentenced in December 2014 to six months of house arrest and three years of probation.
Termination of probation was formally granted Dec. 9, 2015 by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Voorhees.
To read the Liberty Dollar indictment, click here.