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Merchant's tip leads to arrest of 2 N.J. men in fake coin scam
by www.buffalonews.com | March 31, 2012, 6:38 AM

Two New Jersey men suspected of being linked to a major East Coast fake coin ring being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service are in custody thanks to a skeptical Wehrle Drive merchant.

Brian G. Jenkins, 53, of Irvington, N.J., and Thomas Hill, 54, of East Orange, N.J., have been held at the Erie County Holding Center since their arrests at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in a rental car on Niagara Falls Boulevard.

Amherst Police Detective Herbert B. Leising Jr. said a Wehrle Drive businessman, who police refused to identify, called the department after one of the two men came into his business Tuesday afternoon and offered to sell him what he described as antique mint U.S. silver dollars and foreign coins.

Though some of the coins Jenkins and Hill were offering to sell — if real — would have been worth more than $400 apiece, they offered to sell them for only $10 each, Leising said.

After the pair left the businessman, disappointed at his refusal to take them up on what they claimed would be a highly profitable transaction for him, he made a note of the license plate on their vehicle and called Amherst police.

Amherst Police Officer Thomas Grillo stopped the men as they were about to get on the Youngmann Highway. They were arrested after an inspection of their rented 2012 Cadillac SRX revealed 100 fake Saudi Arabian coins, more than 200 fake U.S. silver dollar coins and some fake gold jewelry, all of which is being held by Amherst detectives.

Leising, who is leading the town investigation, said the fact that the pair was known to be using a different New Jersey rental car on Monday leads investigators to believe other members of their operation may be at large in Western New York.

The detective said police believe “there are people who have been scammed and have not come forward either because they don’t yet realize it or are too embarrassed to admit” they have been bilked by Jenkins and Hill.

In addition to searching for local accomplices of the two jailed New Jersey men, Amherst detectives are coordinating with other area police departments to check on other businesses that may have been approached with a similar offer.

According to police records and the Coin World Internet site, Jenkins is under investigation for the sale of counterfeit silver dollars in Alabama, Maryland, West Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Leising said efforts are under way to see if Jenkins and Hill are linked to an East Coast fake coin ring now under investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and possibly allied with Russian immigrant mobsters known to be involved in similar scams in the New York City area.

Amherst police charged Jenkins with first-degree criminal possession of forged instruments and traffic infractions, and Hill is being held on a first-degree forged instrument charge. Additional charges may be lodged against the pair, Leising said.

Merchant's tip leads to arrest of 2 N.J. men in fake coin scam by www.buffalonews.com
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