California Man Enters Plea In Nearly $1,000,000 Theft

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United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III - District of Delaware
January 12, 2012

WILMINGTON, Del. - Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, and James F. Yacone, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Denver, Colorado, announced today that Wyatt Yeager, 33, of California, has entered a guilty plea to a one count felony Information.1

The criminal Information charges Yeager with Theft of Major Artwork, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 668.
According to the Information, between January and March 2007, Wyatt Yeager embezzled $492,205 in rare coins from the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Money Museum, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During that period, Yeager was the collections manager for the ANA Money Museum. Yeager sold the coins at several auctions: one in Baltimore in May 2007, one in St. Louis in June 2007, and one in Melbourne, Australia in July 2007. One of the coins sold at the Australia auction was an extremely rare 1813 "Holey" Dollar. It sold for $155,755. It is pictured below.

1813 'holley' dollar

In addition, according to the plea agreement, Yeager admits to embezzling an additional $492,535 in rare coins from the ANA Money Museum. Yeager sold these coins at an auction in Germany.

Yeager faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years imprisonment, a $250,000.00 fine, three years supervised release following any term of imprisonment, restitution, forfeiture, and a $100.00 special assessment.

United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III said, “These charges are the result of the joint efforts of this office and Special Agent Thomas K. Vest of the FBI Colorado Springs Resident Agency, Denver Division. The embezzlement of such a large number of rare coins is a significant crime. Aggravating the seriousness of the offense is the fact that the coins are cultural property, a part of our history.”

James F. Yacone, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Denver, Colorado, said, “The FBI will continue to pursue those who misappropriate rare items such as the coins embezzled by Yeager and appreciates the District of Delaware’s commitment to prosecute this significant crime.”

This case is being prosecuted by David L. Hall, Assistant United States Attorney. Mr. Hall has an extensive history in handling crimes involving both art and cultural property. He is frequently sought out by investigators who know of his expertise and success in prosecuting such cases. For further information, contact United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III at (302) 573-6277 or Assistant United States Attorney David L. Hall at (302) 573-6277.

1 The Information is merely an accusation, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.