SCHUMER, NADLER ANNOUNCE CROOKED MARKETER OF IMITATION COMMEMORATIVE 9/11 COINS TO SETTLE WITH FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

Jan 22, 2013 Issues: 9/11 Attacks, New York and Our Neighborhoods

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Congressman Jerrold Nadler today announced that the company selling imitation 9/11 coins to the public has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it deceived consumers. In 2010, Schumer and Nadler passed legislation that created an official 9/11 medal to support the National September 11th Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center. After National Collector’s Mint began selling phony coins and profiting off of September 11th, Schumer and Nadler called on the FTC to take action to stop companies from peddling fake coins. Schumer and Nadler today announced that, after their push, this company will be prohibited from misrepresenting the 9/11 commemorative coin.

“This settlement will assure consumers that we, as a nation, will not tolerate such a despicable scam,” said Schumer. “It is absolutely appalling that this company had been making a profit off the 9/11 terrorist attack for so long, however I am relieved that the FTC did the right thing by stopping this unscrupulous company in its tracks.  If they had a shred of decency, they’d donate ever dime of profit to the 9/11 families.”

“Justice is now served for these scam artists who willfully deceived consumers and exploited 9/11 to make a profit,” said Nadler.  “Kudos to the FTC for following through on this repugnant case.  I hope this settlement serves as a stern warning to other would-be swindlers.”

In July 2010, Schumer and Nadler passed the National September 11th Memorial and Museum Commemorative Medal Act that authorized the striking of up to 2 million silver medals, to be issued throughout 2011 and 2012 for the purpose of raising money, through a matching program, for the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero. Each medal is inscribed with the years 2001-2011 and the phrase "Always Remember." The design of the medals was selected by the Treasury Secretary in consultation with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and the Commission of Fine Arts, and reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. For the sale of each coin a $10 donation was made to the memorial and museum.

National Collector’s Mint became infamous for attempting to profit off of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by creating so-called commemorative coins. In 2004, the company issued a “Freedom Tower Silver Dollar” that they falsely asserted was “legally authorized government issue.” The company was charged with fraud and forced to pay more than $2 million in refunds and cancellations, as well as $369,000 in penalties. The company’s 9/11 coin attempted to profit off of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by confusing consumers and suggesting they are official 10 year anniversary coins.

The coin sold at $29.95 and made several misleading claims in its television advertisement. First, the company’s commercial made the suggestion that the coins are government sanctioned and claimed it “is minted under an exclusive license authorizing the official striking of the official Justice Department FBI insignia.” Secondly, the company claimed the coins were made with silver recovered from the ashes of Ground Zero – an unsubstantiated claim that the company also made about their coins in 2004, but cannot be confirmed. Lastly, the company asserted that the coins were “clad in 14 mg of pure 24K gold and 14mg of .999 pure silver.” Despite these assertions, the amount of precious metal in the coins amounts to less than .60 cents in value.

In 2011, Schumer and Nadler called for the FTC to shut down National Collector’s Mint’s 9/11 coin operation and investigate their marketing practices.

Schumer and Nadler today announced that National Collector’s Mint, which sold phony 9/11 “exclusively authorized” commemorative coins honoring the 10th anniversary of 9/11, has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle FTC charges that it deceived consumers. According to the FTC, the settlement agreement permanently prohibits the company from misrepresenting material facts about any product and requires them to clearly disclose information to the consumer.