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John Bendo (Courtesy of the Meriden Police Department)

Man charged with selling fake antique coins in Meriden


MERIDEN — A Hamden man faces charges after police say he packaged fake antique coins and sold them as legitimate.

John Bendo, 62, of 28 Schupp Road was arrested Tuesday and charged with 14 counts of forgery and fifth-degree larceny.

Sgt. Darrin McKay, police spokesman, said the Meriden detective division was contacted by a special agent from the Secret Service in November. McKay said Bendo was buying fake Morgan Silver Dollars and packaging the coins to look authentic. Bendo would then sell the fake coins on Craigslist, Mckay said. One of the transactions, which took place in Meriden in October, involved Bendo selling four fake coins. The buyer reported realizing the coins were fake after buying them and reported the incident to the Secret Service, McKay said. Morgan Silver Dollars were produced from 1878 to 1904 and are worth anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars, McKay said.

McKay said the special agent was able to track the phone number the buyer had for Bendo. The special agent received information from other people Bendo had tried to sell the coins to, but the potential buyers realized before purchasing from Bendo that the coins were fake, McKay said.

One of the potential buyers was able to get the license plate number of Bendo’s car and gave it to police, McKay said. Police tracked the car to Bendo’s home in Hamden. Meriden and Hamden officers, along with the special agent, served a search warrant on Bendo’s home in December, McKay said.

Police found what looked like a pipe bomb in a dresser drawer, but the state police bomb squad determined it was unfinished and not explosive, McKay said. When police ent back into the home they found “an excessive amount of counterfeit coins” such as Morgan Silver Dollars, Benjamin Franklin Half Dollars, American Eagle coins, and packaging materials, McKay said.

Police seized the items, and brought the coins to an expert in Westport who confirmed all the coins were fake, McKay said. An arrest warrant was completed and Bendo turned himself in to police.

McKay said Bendo was very cooperative and gave police information voluntarily that saved a lot of paperwork and time. Bendo said he had been selling the fake coins for “over a year,” primarily on Craigslist and also tried to make sales in New York and Massachusetts.

McKay said there was no implication that anyone else was involved. Bendo was released on a promise to appear and is due in court Jan. 21.



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