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Fake Pound Coins Top 1.5 Million
By Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News
July 22, 2013

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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Can you imagine a 40-foot storage container in which 1.6 million 22.5 millimeter nickel-brass composition metal discs have been stored?

Now, envision another £20,000 face value in £1 coins stored in the same container, with £30,000 in coins being stored in a car nearby. In addition, how about £85,000 in £1 coins stored at the town of Waltham Abbey, and yet another 30,000 additional “round pound” coins neatly stored in 30 boxes each containing £1,000 face value in coins buried in the flooring of Abbott’s Chrysler People-Carrier. These coins were described by police who found them as being “good to go.”

Yes, that a lot of coins. Yes, that’s a lot of bulk and weight. Unfortunately none of the coins are real. Every one of them is the product of what British police are saying was the largest plot ever to fake pound coins in the nation’s history.

The May 22 Daily Mail newspaper said of the case, “Scotland Yard said the haul was ‘the tip of the iceberg’ for the gang, and that the coins were of high enough quality to pass off as real. It said some of the fake currency might now be in circulation.”

Details regarding the fake coins weren’t immediately available, but the reverse design as well as the lettered edge changes every year on the British £1coin. Nothing was available regarding if one or multiple year counterfeits had been produced.

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith found the three defendants guilty in this counterfeiting case. Following their May 22 sentencing at Southwark Crown Court Loraine-Smith said, “This was a scheme to manufacture and pass counterfeit coins on a very large scale indeed. I have no way of knowing how much counterfeit currency had been passed into the economy but the minimum number of coins and discs seized in this case was over 1.5 million.”

Loraine-Smith added, “This was a sophisticated and carefully run operation with pay-as-you-go phones and coded text messages to prevent detection. The reliability of the money in our pockets is essential in everyday life.”

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Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Bruce South said, “These three men are organized criminals who were intent on undermining the UK [United Kingdom] monetary system. There is nothing fake about the reality they must now face of life behind bars. We remain steadfast in our determination [to] disrupt and tackle organized criminal networks.”

So, who are these three counterfeiters who perpetrated this dastardly deed?

Mark Abbott is a 44-year old father of three and grandfather of one living in Edmonton, north of London. Abbott pled guilty to a single count of conspiracy to pass or give to another to pass a counterfeit of a protected coin. He received a sentence of two years in prison.

According to Abbott’s lawyer Jason Dunn-Shaw, “He [Abbott] was in financial hardship and was promised money for his participation.”

Daniel Sullivan of Hornchurch in East London is 28 nce, having been found guilty of conspiring to pass counterfeit coins, but was cleared of “having items to make them.”

The ringleader of the gang, Kevin Fisher, is 53. He is from Goffs Oak, Hertfordshire. Fisher was sentenced to seven years in prison, having been found guilty of conspiring to pass counterfeit coins, and having custody of items to make counterfeit coins.

Fisher’s attorney, Alexander Cameron, insisted Fisher is not the person who produced the blank discs or rented the containers, adding that someone else was “making money out of it.”

If this is true, police are not saying anything about it, or if this might still be an ongoing investigation. Metropolitan Police arrested the three counterfeiters in May 2012 as the results of an undercover investigation.

If it’s any consolation to the three convicted forgers they appear to be headed for the numismatic record books for their efforts.

(Genuine pound coin shown.)

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