Coin thief sentenced in federal court

A former collections manager at the Colorado Springs-based American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum has been sentenced in a theft of valuable coins worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Wyatt Yeager, 33, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, two years supervised release and ordered to pay $948,505 in restitution for the theft of 300 coins the ANA terms “historically significant.”

The sentence was imposed in federal district court in Wilmington, Del. Yeager pled guilty to one count of theft of major artwork in January.

“The harm caused by this theft transcends monetary loss – it was a terrible loss for the association and for collectors everywhere,” said ANA President Tom Hallenceck. “The ANA’s collection provides a window into the history of society, culture and economics from the ancient world to the present day. Because of Mr. Yeager’s actions, significant cultural items will not be available to museum visitors, researchers and other interested groups.”

Yeager embezzled more than $492,205 in rare coins from the ANA’s Money Museum and sold these items in auctions in Baltimore, St. Louis and Melbourne Australia. One of the coins in the Australian sale was the rare Australian 1813 Holey Dollar, which sold for $155,755.

He also embezzled an additional $492,535 in rare coins, and sold them in auctions in Germany.

Yeager was the museum’s collections manager from January through March 2007. The theft was discovered by museum officials in October 2007 and was the subject of an extensive FBI investigation after museum staff confirmed the missing items.

The ANA retained Robert Wittman Inc., a security and recovery consulting firm that specializes in recovering stolen art and collectibles, to investigate and recover the stolen coins.

A list of the stolen items can be found at www.money.org.