Cops: Queens man sold more fake coins on LI
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A 27-year-old man arrested earlier this month on charges of selling counterfeit collectible coins to jewelers and pawnbrokers in Nassau and Queens faces new charges in two similar incidents -- as police try to determine if still others have been victimized.
Allen Natanel, of 67-17 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, is accused of selling counterfeit Morgan silver dollars to an Inwood pawnbroker on Jan. 15 and to a jeweler in Franklin Square on Jan. 18, Nassau County police said.
Authorities said Natanel was rearrested just before 1 a.m. Thursday and charged with two counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument and 30 counts of first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.
At his arraignment Thursday, bail was set at $3,000 bond or $1,500 cash. He is due back in court March 27. It was not clear if he had an attorney.
Natanel previously was arrested by Nassau Fourth Squad detectives at his home on March 5, charged with selling counterfeit coins to the owner of Frucci Jewelers on Nassau Boulevard, Garden City South.
He was charged then with 10 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.
Court records indicate Natanel also was arrested by NYPD officers in Jamaica, Queens -- after a detective saw Natanel's photograph in Newsday -- about 1 p.m. March 6 -- and charged with 196 counts of first-degree possession of a forged instrument.
A spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown confirmed Thursday that those charges also are related to counterfeit coin sales. The criminal complaint against Natanel alleges that, using the name Michael Rothstein, he sold 196 counterfeit Morgans to Marlowe Credit Jewelers on Cross Bay Boulevard for $2,800 cash.
Court records also show that after a pre-arraignment deposition in Queens on March 6, a judge issued a temporary order of protection -- and that Natanel was released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court on those charges on March 27.
In the Garden City South case, authorities said Natanel sold 100 Morgan silver dollars -- 99 of which proved fake -- to the owner of Frucci Jewelers.
In the latest two cases, police said Natanel sold 98 counterfeit coins to National Pawn Brokers on Sheridan Boulevard in Inwood on Jan. 15 and then sold 199 Morgans to Stein Family Jewelers on Hempstead Turnpike in Franklin Square on Jan. 18 -- 198 of which were fake.
It was not immediately clear how much the coins sold for in the Nassau cases against Natanel. Depending on the year minted, Morgan silver dollars are worth anywhere from several dollars apieceto thousands of dollars apieceeach, according to online numismatic websites.
The Queens complaint against Natanel said that, after his purchase, Marlowe owner Dennis Croce had one of the coins "melted down" after a business associate examined them -- and indicated they were likely counterfeit.
According to the complaint, the metal composition of the Morgan silver dollars sold by Natanel to Marlowe determined they were made "entirely of nickel and copper" -- while a genuine U.S. Morgan silver dollar is 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.
Authorities in the Queens case said police initially did not know Natanel's identity, since he had supplied Marlowe with a driver's license claiming to be Rothstein.
The complaint states, however, that the arresting NYPD officer, Det. Nathaniel Tauber of the 106th Precinct, saw the story in Newsday after Natanel's March 5 arrest -- and was able to identify him from a photograph published with that article.
With Ellen Yan