ACTF Reorganizes Research Group, Adds Three Work Groups

October 26, 2017 – The Industry Council for Tangible Assets’ Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force has reorganized one of its original work groups and added three new groups since its early August meeting prior to the World’s Fair of Money in Denver. Additionally, new members have joined the Steering Committee and work groups.

Scott Schechter, vice president and finalizer at Numismatic Guaranty Corp., has joined ACTF’s Steering Committee and will also be a member of the Packaging and Security Work Group. Schechter replaces John Schuch II on the Steering Committee. Schuch will continue to work with ACTF as a member of two work groups, Education and Research.

The Research Work Group, one of ACTF’s original eight work groups, now has a new team comprised of Scott Schwartz, Richard Weaver, and Schuch. Weaver, president of Delaware Valley Rare Coins, is new to the task force. The Research Work Group will focus its efforts initially on identifying, testing, and evaluating anti-counterfeiting technology.

Anti-Counterfeiting Director Beth Deisher said that dealers and collectors are asking which devices and technology are the best to use in identifying counterfeits. “There are a number of products available in the marketplace. Our Research Work Group will be testing them and issuing an advisory to provide practical guidance regarding the capabilities of the various products,” Deisher said.

The three new work groups have been established to work in areas that have risen in importance as the ACTF works with law enforcement at various levels. The three areas are ancient coins, paper money, and products of private mints.

Steering Committee member Dr. Ute Wartenberg-Kagan will lead the Ancients Work Group and will be joined by Mary Lannin, formerly a member of the Research Work Group, and David Hendin, a specialist in ancient Hebrew coins. The Ancients Work Group will provide expertise in identification of counterfeit ancient coins, identify historical areas of origin of genuine ancient coin types, and assist law enforcement in identifying methods of entry and distribution networks of counterfeit ancient coins within the United States.

Paper money specialist Joseph Boling, formerly a member of the Research Work Group, will join Laura Kessler and Chad Hawk in the newly established Paper Money Work Group. Kessler is vice president of PCGS Currency and Hawk is a grader with Paper Money Guaranty. The Paper Money Work Group’s charge will include assisting law enforcement by identifying methods of entry and distribution networks of counterfeit paper money in the United States. The work group’s emphasis will be on counterfeit non-circulating U.S. paper money and counterfeit foreign paper money (due to the Secret Service’s extensive resources that focus on counterfeit circulating U.S. paper money). It will also provide expert assistance to law enforcement in identification of counterfeit notes and counterfeit third-party grading holders. 

The newly established Private Mints Work Group is comprised of leaders within the private mint sector in the United States. Members includeTom Power, president and CEO of Sunshine Mint; Eric Highsmith, vice president of asset strategies at the Scottsdale Mint; Bill Atalla, president of Northwest Territorial Mint/Medallic Art Company; and David Hendrickson, SilverTowne Mint. Power will join the ACTF Steering Committee and lead the work group, which will concentrate its efforts on providing product information on coins and bullion products manufactured by private mints in the United States to enable law enforcement to identify counterfeits of such products. It will also seek to educate private mint leaders about the importance of recordation in the Customs and Border Protection database and will liaison with Transport and Security Work Group to develop best practices standards to prevent infiltration of counterfeits of private mint produced coin and bullion products into commercial transport and storage facilities.

Formed in January 2017, the ACTF’s mission is to educate law enforcement authorities and policy makers about the rising threat of counterfeiting, mobilize law enforcement to attack counterfeiters where they are most vulnerable, and provide expertise and other resources in the investigation and prosecution of counterfeiters and those involved at all levels of their distribution networks.

ACTF is totally funded through donations from businesses and individuals. For information about donating to support the work of the task force, click here or contact Beth Deisher, at 567-202-1795, or via email. Make checks payable to ICTA Anti-Counterfeiting, P.O. Box 237, Dacula, GA 30019.

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