The Industry Council for Tangible Assets recognized three individuals Aug. 15 for their outstanding work in combatting counterfeiters and those who traffic in counterfeit coins and currency in the United States.
Doug Davis, Nicholas L. Tranchitella, and Richard Weaver received ACTF’s annual Al Kreuzer Memorial Award presented during ICTA’s annual banquet held in Philadelphia during the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money.
The ACTF award — in the form of a three-inch, antique bronze medal — is named for long-time California coin dealer Alan “Al” Kreuzer, who died in 2016. His business, Alan Kreuzer Rare Coins and Collectibles, was in Castro Valley, Calif. Kreuzer was instrumental in identifying counterfeit certified holders that made their way around the Bay Area. Kreuzer’s daughter, Chandra, upon learning about ICTA’s establishment of the Ant-Counterfeiting Task Force in January of 2017, donated $50,000 in honor of her father. The donation played a key role in launching the work of the task force.
Davis is founder and president of the Numismatic Crime Information Center and currently serves as the city manager of Pantego, Texas. He is a former Pantego chief of police and has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and the numismatic industry. Founded in 1987, the mission of NCIC is to serve as a national and international resource for collectors, dealers and law enforcement in the education, prevention and investigation of crimes involving coins, paper money, tokens and related numismatic items. NCIC fulfills its mission through maintaining a database of numismatic crimes and stolen property; providing technical assistance to local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of numismatic crimes; offering training to local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies in the investigation of numismatic crimes; and educating collectors and dealers in the prevention of numismatic crimes and the important role each plays within the investigative process. Davis provides valuable leadership in two of ACTF’s Work Groups – Expert Networks and Education-Law Enforcement.
Tranchitella is a Special Agent in the Cherry Hill, N.J., office of the Homeland Security Investigations division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He was the lead investigator in the case against Jonathan A. Kirchner, who currently awaits sentencing on charges of falsely impersonating an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and unlawfully importing counterfeit coins and bars into the United States. Special Agent Tranchitella arranged for the special loan of a selection of counterfeit coins, bars, and grading service holders confiscated in the Kirchner case for exhibit in a public display at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Aug. 14-18 during the WFOM so the public can gain an understanding of the wide range of items being counterfeited as well as the highly deceptive nature of the fakes. Items in the exhibit constitute about 20 percent of the counterfeits seized in the investigation. If the fake coins and bars in the exhibit were genuine, their current market value would be more than $10 million.
Richard Weaver, president of Delaware Valley Rare Coins in Broomall, Pa., played a crucial role in the apprehension of Jonathan A. Kirchner. Two of Kirchner’s victims, a couple, came to Weaver’s coin business seeking an evaluation of 49 Morgan dollars they had purchased from Kirchner, whom they had met via Facebook. Weaver determined that all of the Morgan dollars were counterfeit and informed the couple. They told Weaver they had trusted Kirchner because he told them he was an ATF agent who was selling coins as a side business. He displayed his ATF badge on his Facebook site and wore it when he met with them. They also told Weaver that they had a tentative appointment with Kirchner to purchase more items in a couple of days. Upon learning the details, Weaver immediately contacted ACTF’s Expert Network and ACTF alerted its contacts within federal law enforcement, who immediately identified the ATF badge on Kirchner’s Facebook site as counterfeit. Working with the couple, ATF and Homeland Security Investigations set up a sting operation with an undercover agent posing as the sister of the couple. Kirchner was arrested in the act of selling counterfeit coins to the undercover agent.
After the arrest, law enforcement officials executed a search warrant of Kirchner’s house and Customs and Border Protection intercepted packages shipped to him from China. Weaver has served as law enforcement’s numismatic expert in the Kirchner case, devoting many hours to identifying all the counterfeit coins, bars, and grading service holder components. In addition, he has provided a current market value for each item if it had been genuine so that law enforcement can determine the potential harm to victims and to the marketplace.
Weaver is a member of ACTF’s Research Work Group and is also vice president of the Professional Numismatist Guild.