Acting Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint David Motl’s November 17 response to an October 27 letter from U.S. Representatives Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Alex Mooney (R-WV) requesting information regarding the Mint’s efforts to combat the rising tide of counterfeit coins entering the United States lacks commitment.
“While the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACTF) appreciates Acting Deputy Director Motl’s acknowledgement that counterfeiting represents a serious threat to the nation’s coinage, we are nevertheless disheartened that the U.S. Mint’s efforts on the anti-counterfeiting front do not reflect a serious commitment to act against this threat,” said Beth Deisher, Industry Council for Tangible Assets’ Director of Anti-Counterfeiting who also coordinates the ACTF.
In his letter to congressmen Lucas and Mooney, Motl points to the Mint’s Second Annual Numismatic Forum, held on October 17 to discuss marketplace issues with 68 industry leaders. In fact, this forum would have been an excellent venue for U.S. Mint officials to describe the U.S. Mint’s anti-counterfeiting efforts, but the subject was never raised.
ACTF’s concern is that Mint leaders did not raise the subject because the U.S. Mint is doing little to address the surge of counterfeit U.S. coins now entering the United States. The Mint has long held the position that protecting the nation’s coinage from counterfeiters is the responsibility of the U.S. Secret Service; thus, it has remained inactive when it comes to developing and employing modern anti-counterfeiting technology to protect the coins it manufactures.
On November 9, 2017, eight days prior to Motl writing his letter to Reps. Lucas and Mooney, ACTF representatives met with the acting deputy director and other senior staff at U.S. Mint headquarters. In that meeting, ACTF described three important steps the U.S. Mint has the authority and the financial resources to use today to fight the counterfeiters:
- Respond to the long-standing request from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to register U.S. Mint products with CBP to allow it to identify and interdict counterfeits as they enter the country. To-date, the U.S. Mint has not done so.
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- Incorporate (as other sovereign mints have done) state-of-the-art anti-counterfeiting features into the packaging and certificates of authenticity that accompany its numismatic products.
- Launch a research and development program to determine the most effective anti-counterfeiting features to incorporate into its precious metals coins. Other sovereign mints are far ahead of the U. S. Mint in exploring these options and incorporating them into their coinage. As soon as practicable the U.S. Mint should draw upon other national mints’ experience and tap private-sector expertise in order to identify and implement the best anti-counterfeiting technology.
In his letter, Motl states that “in the past two years, we have not received any complaints about current-issue gold, platinum, or silver coins.” In fact, in the November 9 meeting with Mr. Motl, ACTF representatives informed him and other Mint staff of evidence of counterfeiters producing fake American Eagle, American Buffalo, and U.S. commemorative coins, all of which are composed of precious metals.
David Ryder, who awaits U.S. Senate confirmation as the next director of the Mint, identified the counterfeiting threat as one of his top priorities. Ryder has deep experience in the field of anti-counterfeiting technology, and the U.S. Mint is in dire need of leadership that takes this threat seriously. ACTF encourages the U.S. Senate to act quickly to confirm him.
The Industry Council for Tangible Assets formed the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force’s in January 2017. ACTF’s mission is to educate law enforcement authorities and policymakers about the rising threat of counterfeiting, mobilize law enforcement to attack counterfeiters where they are most vulnerable and provide expertise and other resources in the investigation and prosecution of counterfeiters and those involved at all levels of their distribution networks.
ACTF is totally funded through donations from businesses and individuals. For information about donating to support the work of the task force, visit the website of the ICTA or contact Beth Deisher at 567-202-1795; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Make checks payable to ICTA Anti-Counterfeiting, P.O. Box 237, Dacula, GA 30019.
Press release courtesy of the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force.