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Bloomberg Law: Cult Economist Jailed for Hiding Rare Coins Says They’re His Now

June 13, 2019

Martin Armstrong, a self-taught economist with a large and dedicated following, was sued by regulators and the receiver for his bankrupt firm. They required that he hand over his collection of rare and historical coins, which were an ancient bust of Julius Caesar, valued at $12.9 million.

Armstrong claimed he had given the assets away, but a judge decided against him, and Armstrong spent almost seven years in prison, at the time the longest jailing ever for civil contempt in a federal white-collar case. He was also convicted of what the U.S. said was a Ponzi scheme that resulted in $700 million lost, and for hiding assets, including what may be the coins that Armstrong believes belong to him.

U.S. District P. Kevin Castel in Manhattan will hear arguments regarding the receiver’s request for control of the coins, which are currently being held by the auction house. The receiver for the bankrupt company says the coins surfaced a couple years ago, the same time that he was in the process of terminating his years-long lawsuit against Armstrong.

Tancred Schiavoni, a lawyer for O’Melveny & Myers, who is representing the receiver, said he’s grateful to the court for its attention to the case over the years.

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