US Mint says ex-employee stole coins

Wednesday, August 23rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA – A former employee of the U.S. Mint stole and sold coins that had been stamped incorrectly, raking in about $80,000 from collectors, authorities said Tuesday.

David J. D'Angelo, a coin press operator at the Philadelphia Mint, did not purposefully make any of the defective coins that he stole from December 1998 until last March, said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Levy.

Collectors and dealers have noticed some spectacular error coins coming out of the Philadelphia Mint in recent years, including four new Sacagawea dollar coins on which one face was struck as a Washington quarter instead of the American Indian guide and translator. Auctions of those coins have brought up to $41,000 each.

D'Angelo did not have any of the rare Sacagawea coins, Levy said Tuesday.

D'Angelo, 45, of suburban Broomall, agreed to plead guilty at a later date, his attorney, Nicholas Guarente, said Monday.

Guarente said D'Angelo cooperated with investigators, including disclosing a hiding place inside the downtown Mint where federal agents found a large cache of coins.

Mint spokesman Michael White would not comment about the criminal case or about security in general.

Irregular coins and stamps are supposed to be destroyed. In 1996, federal prosecutors charged a worker at a contract printing plant in New York with stealing Richard Nixon commemorative stamps made for the Postal Service that had an upside-down name. About 140 of the misprinted 32-cent stamps sold for $800,000 at auction.