NGC Wins Justice with Coin Tampering Settlement
Posted on 8/9/2023
Numismatic Guaranty Company® (NGC®) has reaffirmed its commitment to integrity in coin certification by aggressively pursuing justice in a scheme that targeted the numismatic community. The defendant in the case, Richard Albright, removed NGC-certified coins from their holders and replaced them with coins of inferior grade and value. The lesser coins, which Albright encased in holders that misrepresented their authenticity and condition, were sold by him to unsuspecting collectors and dealers.
A comprehensive settlement between NGC and Albright holds that the defendant, on the basis of his admissions related to the scheme, must turn over tampered NGC holders and coins and pay undisclosed damages to NGC, the industry's most trusted third-party coin grading service.
"NGC is committed to protecting the hobby from counterfeiters and anyone else who seeks to take advantage of collectors," said Max Spiegel, President of the Certified Collectibles Group, which includes NGC, "This case demonstrates that those attempting to undermine the integrity of the hobby and NGC's world-class certification services will be pursued and brought to justice."
NGC filed a lawsuit against Albright in early 2023 after being made aware of his scheme, which involved taking coins out of their NGC holders and replacing them with coins of a lesser grade and value. The inferior coins, which were poorly resealed in NGC holders that misrepresented their authenticity and grade, were sold with the intention of profiting off of the less-valuable coins. Some of the removed coins were then re-submitted to NGC, likely in an attempt to obtain additional NGC holders and labels.
NGC's Certification Verification tool on its website played a significant role in uncovering and halting the scheme. The Certification Verification tool contains high-resolution images of the obverse and reverse of most coins that NGC has graded and encapsulated since late 2008. The database, which includes images of more than 33 million NGC-certified coins, is available online for free and is searchable by each graded coin's NGC certification number. This industry-leading resource allowed NGC to compare the swapped coins with the original encapsulated coins, which aided NGC's legal action against Albright.
After a months-long case and more than $100,000 invested by NGC to halt the scheme, the settlement was reached. As part of the settlement agreement, NGC's costs will be reimbursed, and the court also issued a permanent injunction restraining Albright from any further misrepresentation of NGC-certified coins.
This follows the court's preliminary injunction order from February 2023 that prohibited Albright from continuing to engage in activities related to the scheme. The court orders included Albright being prohibited from using NGC’s trademarks to identify coins not certified by NGC or from using false descriptions to make coins appear that they have been certified by NGC.
Additionally, the order required Albright to provide NGC with a written report that revealed all the online marketplaces where he may have sold coins as part of the scheme as well as sales records related to coins that were misrepresented as NGC-certified. The preliminary injunction further ordered the defendant to turn over any coins in his possession that appeared to be certified by NGC and "all coins held at any point for purposes of substitution with coins" certified by NGC.
NGC's Commitment to Protecting the Hobby
NGC is proud to uphold its commitment to the coin collecting community by adhering to the highest standards within the hobby. In addition to taking legal action against unscrupulous individuals, NGC also provides vital financial support to various organizations, including the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (ACEF), which has named NGC as its Official Grading Service. Since 1987, NGC has graded more than 58 million coins, tokens and medals, each one backed by the industry-leading NGC Guarantee.
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