U.S. man sentenced to 10 months for selling counterfeit coins worth $12k USD

Maine resident Mwashuma Sithole, 32, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison and three years of supervised release for selling counterfeit U.S. Morgan dollars.

Court records show Sithole began ordering counterfeit silver dollars online in May 2014, paying about $2 USD a piece, and has since sold them for a profit of $12,000 USD (about $16,250 Cdn.). The coins, which were produced in China, were offered as counterfeits and resembled genuine Morgan dollars in appearance, design, and weight.

The Morgan dollar was a U.S. silver coin minted from 1878-1904 and again in 1921. It was the first standard silver dollar minted in after the Seated Liberty dollar, the production of which had ceased with the passage of the Coinage Act of 1873.

From 2013-15, Sithole sold and pawned the counterfeit Morgan dollars at pawn shops across Maine. Sithole knew the coins were counterfeit but told the buyers they were genuine Morgan dollars, the court heard.

On Jan. 22, 2015, a search warrant was executed at Sithole’s residence, where officers seized about 1,200 counterfeit Morgan coins.

The investigation was conducted by the Augusta, Waterville, Auburn, Lewiston, South Portland and Newport Police Departments; the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office; the Maine State Police, and the U.S. Secret Service.

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