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PRESS RELEASE: Coin Dealer Michael D. Amato was Sentenced to 60 Months in Federal Prison for Stealing Coin Collections from Senior Citizens

U.S. Attorney’s Office
January 24, 2012
Northern District of Texas
(214) 659-8600

AMARILLO, TX—Michael D. Amato was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson to 60 months in federal prison, and ordered to pay $603,500 in restitution to his victims, following his October 2011 guilty plea to a one-count indictment charging interstate transportation of stolen property, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. Judge Robinson ordered that Amato surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on February 21, 2012.

According to documents filed in the case, Amato, 31, represented himself as a coin dealer who appraised, bought, sold and exchanged coins for a company called Excell Marketing Group, located in Patchogue, New York. He solicited business in a number of states by telephoning individuals to inquire if they had coins they wished to sell or exchange and sent literature to potential customers that represented that Excell was accredited by the Better Business Bureau and had thousands of happy customers.

The investigation revealed that after Amato gained the trust of coin collectors and persuaded them to send him their coins for appraisal, exchange or sale, he ended any contact with the customers and did not pay them for coins they sent to him. For example, Amato convinced an elderly Tulia, Texas, resident to send him 47 coins for appraisal and possible sale. The coins were sent via FedEx and delivered to Amato’s business address in Patchogue. After receiving the coins, Amato did not respond to this customer’s calls or letters, did not compensate this customer and did not return the coins, which were valued at more than $5,000.

According to the indictment, Amato solicited coins primarily from elderly people, and bilked more than $450,000 in rare coins from individuals in California, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.
The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy L. Drake was in charge of the prosecution.