LISBON - A Florida coin collector claiming he was swindled by William Kimpel, owner of Kimpel's Jewelry and Gifts of Columbiana, has filed a civil lawsuit in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.
Michael Brown of Inverness, Fla., is seeking more than $125,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from Kimpel.
According to the lawsuit filed on Brown's behalf by attorney Victor T. DiMarco of Cleveland, Brown first met with Kimpel on Aug. 1, 2012, discussing the purchase of rare coins, having the coins graded and then selling the coins at a significant profit.
During the meeting, Kimpel reportedly showed Brown several coins, which Kimpel allegedly claimed were rare and offered to sell him a "proof 1861, $2.50 gold coin." Brown claims Kimpel contended the one he was trying to sell Brown was in much better condition than the only other one Kimpel said he had ever seen, which reportedly sold at an auction years earlier for $45,000.
He offered to sell it to Brown for $30,000, for which Brown gave him a check. Kimpel kept the coin, claiming he would have it graded at a coin show in Long Beach, Calif., in a month.
In either later September or early October 2012, Kimpel reportedly offered to obtain for Brown a high grade MS66 coin. The coin was reportedly coming from a friend in California and Kimpel allegedly offered Brown a "dealer discount" of $89,000. Kimpel further allegedly told Brown the California coin dealer was willing to offer Brown a credit of $65,000 for Brown's coin collection along with the difference for the $89,000 MS66 coin.
Brown said he gave Kimpel his entire coin collection and $23,600 toward the purchase of the $89,000 MS66 coin.
Additionally on Sept. 20, 2012, Brown contends he gave Kimpel $4,000 to buy other coins, have them graded and "flip" them for a profit.
In January 2013, Brown and Kimpel reportedly met in a hotel in Orlando, Fla., where Brown said Kimpel showed him an 1842 silver one-half dollar. Kimpel allegedly told Brown it was one of only seven made and offered to sell it to Brown for $55,000. Brown paid Kimpel $15,000 toward the asking price.
In May 2013, Kimpel allegedly again offered to sell Brown a coin, this time a Silver Morgan Proof coin for $4,000. Brown bought to coin.
However, as of the date of the filing of the lawsuit, Brown claims he has never received any of the coins promised by Kimpel and has lost his own coin collection.
By November 2013, Brown sent an invoice to Kimpel requesting payment of $142,600, for the money lost to Kimpel. The lawsuit claims Kimpel admitted the debt and wrote Brown a check, but when Brown attempted to cash it the first time it failed for insufficient funds. On the second attempt to cash the check, Brown claims Kimpel had stopped payment on the check.
Brown contends Kimpel intentionally caused him injury and transferred Brown's coins to others for his own personal benefit. Brown also claims the coins Kimpel was offering him either did not exist or were not of the caliber or condition Kimpel was representing them to be. Additionally, he believes claims by Kimpel to be working with appraisers and coin dealers were false and used to further defraud Brown.