A North Lindenhurst coin dealer has been ordered to pay nearly $1.9 million to a Texas woman's estate, which claimed she was misled into buying rare coins that were counterfeit, damaged or overvalued, according to court documents.
The ruling Tuesday by a federal judge in Corpus Christi, Texas, means the estate of Bonnie Pereida can recover $1.6 million in damages and almost $300,000 in attorney fees and court costs from PCA Collectibles of North Lindenhurst, the documents said.
Pereida, of Corpus Christi, died in 2011 at age 73, and her fiance, Albert Malvino, was put in charge of her estate.
Between January and May 2011, she purchased 135 coins for $727,569 from PCA Collectibles, which was owned by Paul A. Delluniversita, the court papers said. The coins were graded and evaluated by PCI Coin Grading, owned by Delluniversita's father, Anthony, who also worked at PCA Collectibles.
Paul Grinke, a Dallas attorney representing the companies, said his clients plan to appeal.
"There is no evidence of any misrepresentation on behalf of any of the defendants," Grinke said, noting that coin grading is "subjective."
When Pereida's estate went to resell the coins after her death, a Dallas auction house valued them at $190,000.
According to Paul Montgomery, a rare-coin expert from Edmond, Oklahoma, who assisted the Pereida estate in its recovery efforts, the coins were worth about $150,000 when she purchased them.
A Newport Beach, California, rare-coin authentication company, Professional Coin Grading Service, said in the papers that one coin, a 1914 $2.50 gold piece, was counterfeit; PCI had given it a mint rating with a score of 64 on a grading scale of 1 to 70.
The California-based grading service also identified 25 other coins that could not be graded because they had been either cleaned or damaged.Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos said in her decision that PCI over-graded the coins so that Pereida would pay more than their value. She also said that the collectibles company, PCA, falsely represented that the grade of each coin was determined by an independent third party.With Nicole Fuller