Roma Numismatics, Richard Beale Arrested.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Mat, Mar 6, 2023.

  1. Kaleun96

    Kaleun96 Well-Known Member

    We went over this with you on NumisForums but based solely on information in the affidavit available, you're taking a *very* favourable view towards Roma by framing it this way.

    Let me quote the affidavit directly:
    So in summary this is what has happened:
    1. Beale and Vecchi listed the coin with the supposedly false provenance
    2. Informant #2 contacted Beale and Vecchi to inform them this provenance was false
    3. Beale and Vecchi then offered 100,000 Swiss francs for Informant #2 to sign documents attesting to the provenance.
    So my question for you, which I and others have also asked from you on NumisForums, is why would Beale and Vecchi try to pay someone 100,000 for a provenance that this very person that they are paying is telling them is false?

    I believe you've earlier said that maybe Beale and Vecchi was paying Informant #2 for "provenance research" but I'll offer the same reply as I did then. Why would they pay 100,000 Swiss francs to their "provenance researcher" when that researcher is telling them the provenance is fake and not to use it? Additionally, the very same "provenance researcher" (in this hypothetical) is refusing to sign documents attesting to this "research" they have provided to Beale and Vecchi and which they are actively telling them is fake and not a genuine provenance.
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  3. sand

    sand Well-Known Member

    @Kaleun96 Perhaps, I'm being thick headed. That's always a possibility. I may be incorrect. Also, all of what I've said, may be rendered moot, when the full evidence is presented, at the trial. Perhaps, when the full evidence is presented at the trial, it will become obvious, that Mr. Beale is guilty.
    I just wanted to point out, that it seems to me, that the affidavit is missing some important pieces of information. My analysis is only based on the affidavit. Perhaps, other evidence has been made publicly available, of which I'm not aware. I'm not saying, that Mr. Beale is innocent. I'm just saying that, to me, the information in the affidavit, leaves open the logical possibility, that Mr. Beale didn't know that the provenance was fake, when Mr. Beale sold and shipped the Eid Mar. Perhaps the missing information will be revealed, during the trial. I strongly believe, that a person is innocent until proven guilty, at least beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, I don't want to convict Mr. Beale in my mind, if I have a reasonable doubt.
    In the affidavit, there are the following 2 paragraphs, which I call "paragraph 1" and "paragraph 2".
    Then, later in the affidavit, there is this paragraph, which I call "paragraph 3".
    The 1st piece of missing information, for me, is as follows. The last sentence of paragraph 2 bothers me : "According to Informant #2, when the informant told Vecchi and the defendant that this provenance was false, Vecchi and the defendant offered 100,000 Swiss francs for Informant #2 to sign provenance documents, which Informant #2 refused to sign." I don't like the use of the word "informant" with a lower case "i" and no number. I would prefer that the word "informant" with a lower case "i" and no number, be replaced with either "Informant #1" or "Informant #2" or "Informant #3" etc. The use of the word "informant" with a lower case "i" and no number, to me, causes the sentence to be ambiguous. I'm not 100% certain, whether the word "informant" with a lower case "i" and no number, refers to "Informant #1" or "Informant #2" or "Informant #3" etc. I saw that, in the NvmisForvms thread, one person believes, that it is obvious, that "informant" with a lower case "i" and no number, refers to Informant #2. It seems highly probable, that the person in the NvmisForvms thread, is correct. But, I'm not 100% certain. Also, a different person in the NvmisForvms thread, mentioned, that paragraph 3 combined with paragraph 2, lead to the conclusion, that "informant" with a lower case "i" and no number, refers to Informant #2 in paragraph 2. I agree, that paragraph 3 strengthens the argument, that "informant" with a lower case "i" and no number, refers to Informant #2 in paragraph 2. However, to me, it is not 100% certain, that the incident in paragraph 3, is the same incident discussed in the last sentence of paragraph 2. To me, it seems possible, that the incident in paragraph 3, happened after the incident in paragraph 2.
    The 2nd piece of missing information, for me, is as follows. For the rest of this post, let us suppose that, in paragraph 2, the word "informant" with a lower case "i" and no number, refers to Informant #2.
    In paragraph 2, it says that, Mr. Beale said that Mr. Beale paid for the provenance (this provenance may not have been the same thing, as the 100,000 Swiss franc offer that Mr. Beale made to Informant #2, as far as I can tell). That itself is not illegal, as far as I know. It seems possible, that Mr. Beale believed, that the provenance was correct, when Mr. Beale bought the provenance.
    Let us suppose that, after Informant #2 told Mr. Beale that Informant #2 believed that the provenance was fake, Mr. Beale offered 100,000 Swiss francs to Informant #2 to sign provenance documents. For me, it seems like, there are questions and possibilities, which have not been ruled out. Perhaps, Mr. Beale didn't believe Informant #2. Perhaps, Mr. Beale still believed that the provenance was correct. Also, perhaps Mr. Beale was saying, that if Informant #2 later decided that the provenance was correct, then Mr. Beale would pay Informant #2 the sum of 100,000 Swiss francs, to sign provenance documents. In other words, perhaps Mr. Beale did not want Informant #2 to lie. Perhaps, Mr. Beale was just saying, that if Informant #2 later decided that the provenance was correct, then Mr. Beale would pay 100,000 Swiss francs for Informant #2 to sign provenance documents.
    I agree, that this would create the appearance of a conflict of interest, on the part of Informant #2. The offer of payment, would cause Informant #2 to be tempted to lie, in order to receive money.
    Perhaps, in general, it is unethical, to pay someone, or to accept payment, to simply sign a document, which attests to the truth of something.
    The affidavit doesn't seem to mention, what was the nature of the provenance, which Mr. Beale bought (this provenance may not have been the same thing, as the 100,000 Swiss franc offer that Mr. Beale made to Informant #2, as far as I can tell). Perhaps, Mr. Beale paid for an old document about the Eid Mar, from long ago. Perhaps, Mr. Beale paid for old photographs from long ago, of the Eid Mar, in an old collection. Perhaps, Mr. Beale paid for an old bill of sale or invoice, for the Eid Mar, from long ago. Perhaps, Mr. Beale paid someone, to do provenance research. All of those things, seem ethical.
    But, if the provenance that Mr. Beale bought (this provenance may not have been the same thing, as the 100,000 Swiss franc offer that Mr. Beale made to Informant #2, as far as I can tell), was Mr. Beale paying someone to simply sign a provenance document, without doing any research or other work, then that seems ethically questionable, although perhaps not illegal.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2023
  4. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    We could probably dream up some extreme scenarios where this type of thing would be acceptable. But paying or being paid for a signature on a document attesting to something blatantly violates the intended legal purpose of the document. I'd find it hard to believe that this wouldn't be clearly evident to everybody involved, especially for people that deal in this kind of thing and probably have lawyers on staff that advise on these issues.
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  5. Kaleun96

    Kaleun96 Well-Known Member

    It refers to Informant #2, without any doubt. As myself and others on NF mentioned, the capitlised "Informant" is being used as a proper noun and when a noun follows the use of a proper noun in this way, it's pretty clear that they refer to the same individual. For example: "Sam wanted to go to the zoo, when he asked his parents if they could take him, they said they could only take Sam if he did his chores".

    This isn't in dispute, it's not ambiguous, it's very clear standard use of the English language. It is further reinforced by the fact that whenever a different informant is being talked about, the affidavit refers to that informant by their number.

    I agree that this is less clear. My assumption is that it refers to the same event but regardless it matters little for the discussion at hand. Whether Informant #2 told Beale and Vecchi about the provenance being fake just the one time or on two separate occasions doesn't really affect the accusation that they attempted to pay this person for a provenance this person said was false.

    It seems that Beale did pay someone else for the provenance but that is irrelevant to whether Beale attempted to pay Informant #2 after being informed by this person that the provenance was false. The affidavit clearly states the sequence of events as:
    1. Informant #2 tells Beale and Vecchi the provenance is false
    2. Beale and Vecchi offer Informant #2 100,000 CHF to sign documents attesting that the provenance is real
    3. Informant #2 refused to sign these documents
    There is no ambiguity in the affidavit as to that particular sequence of events, though of course they are still accusations and not indisputable facts. Given this sequence of events, why would Beale and Vecchi offer 100,000 CHF to someone who is telling them the provenance is not real? If proven, the offer of payment after being told the provenance was fake by the same individual would demonstrate undeniably that Beale knew the provenance was fake. There is no other explanation.

    It's possible but it is contradicted by the affidavit. If that was the case, Informant #2 wouldn't "refuse" to sign the documents, they would simply have just told Beale the provenance was fake and nothing more. The refusal can only mean that they were presented with an immediate action to take, not a hypothetical one. If the offer was simply "well if you do find evidence it's correct, we'll pay you for it" then I would think Informant #2 would be considered to have mislead the authorities in their statement, either willingly or unwillingly.

    And that doesn't seem like a simple misunderstanding given Informant #2 has apparently told the authorities that they were "asked to sign". Again, if this was more of a hypothetical offer in the event of new evidence of the provenance coming to light, the informant wouldn't have been asked to sign a document as proof of the provenance. They would be paid for providing the evidence, signing a document attesting to that evidence would be superfluous unless the evidence was not provable by a third-party, in which case one must ask one's self how Informant #2 would come across evidence that proves the provenance is genuine, after already stating it is fake, and in which this evidence cannot stand on its own and must be accompanied by a signed document attesting to it?

    It might make sense if Informant #2 already knew the provenance was genuine to begin with. For example, they had seen the coin in the collection of this person but had no physical evidence of it being in such a collection. In that case it might be expected that a signed statement would suffice. However, this explanation completely falls apart when Informant #2 is starting out by saying there is no such evidence. Unless they go to a hypnotist and regain some long lost memory, this is not a likely explanation.

    Sure, but that's not what Beale is being charged with. He's not being charged with paying someone to sign a document that this person believes is the truth. He's being charged with offering someone money to sign a document stating as fact something he knows to be false. Before you say "maybe he thought it was true", I would redirect you to my earlier question of why Beale would try to pay someone 100,000 CHF for stating as true something this person has already told Beale is not true.
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  6. sand

    sand Well-Known Member

    @Kaleun96 I give up, for now. Currently, I don't have enough spare time, to write any more long posts, about this topic. However, it is an interesting topic. Perhaps, in the future, I'll have more time, to write about this topic. For now, I'll just say this. I am not yet convinced, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Mr. Beale knew, that the Eid Mar provenance was fake, when Mr. Beale sold and shipped the Eid Mar. Perhaps, I'll just wait, for more evidence to be revealed to the public, perhaps during the trial, before I say much more about it.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2023
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  7. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Everyone is presumed innocent until proven in a court of law. Even then, many innocent people were executed and later found to be completely innocent in the America.
  8. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    So the streets of New York are filled with crime (my sister got mugged not too long ago on 33rd Street and no one in my family will take the subway), addicts are shooting up on Broadway and urinating in public and this idiot is running around looking for stolen Italian antiquities. Great work Alvin! You know where to focus your resources!
  9. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    Well said!
  10. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    I have a lot more to say about this since some years ago I was involved as an attorney in one of these cases, but I just do not have the time to tell the entire story which is quite bizarre. I can, however, personally attest to the dishonesty of some of those prosecuting these crimes. As an example, my client had a search done of his apartment and numerous articles of value taken unrelated to the case which were not returned as required at the end of the matter. I was told the articles had somehow been "misplaced" and told to file a claim with the government, which we did with proof of ownership and value. Two years later we get a four sentence form letter saying the claim was denied - no reasons given. And we had photographs of the items taken by the government!

    This was only one example of all sorts of nonsense that went on- it was quite an eye opener - I foolishy believed that the process by which the federal government prosecutes would be on the level instead of thoroughly corrupt.

    I'll add this: two young girls/women in my family have died from drug overdoses, over the last five years - one 17 years old, the other 24 years old. I read this article and think isn't it great that the resources of the state and federal government are spent taking down some "coin dealer" to enforce Greek law while poison gets smuggled into our country in order to kill and enslave our young people.

    I am not even addressing the nonsensical argument that the government of Greece has the right to items made thousands of years in the past, or that we in the United States should help enforce those nonsensical rights. Why not Italy since this could have been produced in Italy instead of a traveling mint? The idea that any government has a claim to these objects is absurd, although what is more absurd is that the government of the United States, which gets nothing for its efforts, is enforcing a nonsensical law of some other country.

    But then again, I guess going after coin dealers is much easier than going after the drug dealers killing 120,000 people each year.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2023
  11. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    Or let’s say someone in New York City bought a piece of property and found a letter belong to Peter Styvescent (sp?) or an Indian artifact from a long gone tribe and sold it to a foreigner. Would we be outraged? Of course not. Or demand that it belonged to the American government? How about a gun belonging to Billy the Kid? Or a letter signed by Lincoln? Does our government have the right to that? Of course not. That would be unAmerican.

    But if some poor schlub finds an aureus in Greece that was struck thousands of years ago under the Roman Republic, the fools in the US government start screaming about Greek cultural property based on some inane UNESCO treaty and impose criminal penalties in order to enforce Greek law, even though Greece has no inherent rights to the coin other than it happened to be found on Greek soil - private property to be sure - but the guy who found it doesn’t get a dime since the Greek government claims anything ancient based on some bizarre concept of “cultural heritage” whatever that is. And the US government and US Customs actually waste resources that could be used to interdict the poison killing hundreds of thousands of American young people to support this craziness!

    I guess the Germans will start claiming all the Nazi artifacts being bought and sold including concentration camp artifacts because it is their cultural heritage. The idea is so absurd that it is mind boggling that anyone could claim it with a straight face. I guess I should return the Japanese sniper rifle to Japan that my uncle brought back after the war - after all it is part of the Japanese cultural heritage.

    I feel bad for Mr. Beale - he has not committed anything that should be called a crime and he is being prosecuted by people that should be doing something worthwhile like stopping the trade in poison that is destroying the lives of millions of Americans.

    But as I said arresting a measly coin dealer for a non- existent crime is much easier than going after the drug cartels.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2023
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  12. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    I am sorry for your relatives who fell victims of this drug trafficking scourge. Going after dishonest auctioneers and dealers who falsify documents for selling illegal antiquities at the highest possible price, or going after drug cartels are the same fight. Drugs and illegal antiquities come through the same circuits, often controlled by the same people from the Middle East, South America, South Italy. They need honourably reputed accomplices in the West who will forge legal provenances, reach the solvable market and launder the money in banks.

    You seem to state that nothing should get in the way of free trade (except for drugs, OK). In the Renaissance, you shouldn't probably have seen any problem with buying and selling indulgences! A lot of people beg to differ. In some countries it is legal to freely sell and buy lethal firearms, human blood and body parts, while in others money cannot buy anything and this trade is illegal. In some countries education and medicine are a merchandise for those who can afford it, while in some others they are a right for everybody, paid for by taxpayers. It's a question of ideology, and would be a long discussion...

    About antiquities, I am not sure the US would see no problem if somebody discovered objects of high historical significance (Young George Washington's axe, Peter Stuyvesant's diary, etc.) and took them abroad for selling to some unknown collector. Many nations protect what they consider their national heritage. You would have loved living in the early 1800s: back then, the antiquities trade was completely free, digging in Rome or Pompeii was an industry flooding the ancient art international market, same thing in Greece, Egypt and Mesopotamia, where bribing local Muslim authorities bought you the right of digging for heathen "idols" and carrying them to Europe. But in the 1840s, 1850s and 1870s the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Ottomans realized this industry was robbing their land of its history now seen as glorious, when they were the most advanced civilizations. They passed laws to regulate the antiquities market, forbid illegal digs and declare all antiquities state property unless otherwise decided.

    Of course it is the absolute duty of other nations to cooperate and help these countries to recover their illegally smuggled heritage. Antiquities exported before laws were passed are, of course, perfectly legal. But not those that just surfaced a year ago...
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  13. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    Stolen goods? Stolen from what? A modern government claiming ownership based on”cultural patrimony” or some such nonsense? Many of the places where these items are found suffer from grinding poverty and the government basically take these items from people who could use the sale to feed their families. What right does a modern government - Syria for example, assuming there is a government there - have to objects made thousands of years ago. Or Iran? None at all - it is a fabricated concept. And why should we support these laws which do nothing for us but waste resources. Stolen from people - that’s something. “Stolen” from a government that has no right other a nonsensical claim of cultural patrimony is something else. Did the Romans steal items from Greece two millennia ago that should be returned? Or is there a statute of limitations on these things?
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  14. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    Plus the so called fraudulent documents is forced on sellers and buyers due to a corrupt and irrational system. And again will Germany in a couple of centuries claim ownership of Nazi memorabilia based on its “glorious past.”

    Anyway that’s my position and so be it. I’m done let others either agree or disagree - but also remember that the system we have now is dependent on the people administering it and many of those who do so are corrupt - a sign of the times.
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  15. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    Isn't that the truth, as long as there are power hungry people out there, there will always be a reason to take from the poor and give to the rich. The collector no doubt cherishes and takes care of their collection better than any of these curators that have them displayed. Sometimes in a cellar, not even in the public eye.
  16. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    I'm not 100% sure about the specifics, but the stories that I've read speculated that the coin was found (looted) from a historical battlefield site that was federally protected. If this is the case, then claiming "cultural patrimony" on the item has nothing to do with it. It would be like finding an extremely valuable relic in a National Park within the US and keeping it for yourself. The origin story and group to which the item was relevant wouldn't matter (coin, dinosaur fossil, Native American item, battlefield remnant), the government would come after you for that because it was illegal to have removed it from the park.

    I'm not assuming the worst about Beale until the case runs its course, but it certainly seems silly to make an angel out of him. At the very least, he paid somebody to sign a document and then passed it off as proof of provenance (from which he profited). And at worst, he was aware that the coin was or may have been illegally looted and chose to profit from it anyway.

    And, going after one type of criminal (white collar) doesn't mean that we are not going after others (drug dealers). It would be nice if we had the resources to completely solve all problems on these fronts, but the bottom line is that people should be punished when they do something illegal.
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  17. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

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  18. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    Again, it's not about cultural patrimony. The reason that we go out of our way to enforce Greek laws is because we in turn expect Greece to enforce US laws. There is an extradition treaty between the two countries.
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  19. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    I think the opposite. Would you say drugs production and trafficking is OK because it helps poor people feeding their families? Sounds anarchist to me...
    Cultural patrimony is not a fabricated concept. Syria and Iran are nations, whatever their present governments may be. They have not always been under baathist or islamic dictatures, and in the future they will not be. That's called history, and in the Middle East it's a long, very long history.
    In every country the people have a right to their identity, their national history which has nothing to do with the current regimes, and history is not a merchandise. Money is not a supreme god.
  20. Gallienus


    Richard Beale, owner of ROMA Numismatics, pleads Guilty

    Auction Head Richard Beale pleads guilty to 2 counts of conspiracy and 3 counts of criminal possession at the New York Supreme Criminal Court on Aug 14, 2023.

    As I've stated before, Richard Beale and ROMA Numismatics STOLE 1,127 pounds sterling from me, a small US-based collector, in 2014.

    Nonetheless, I'm sure this news and his criminal record will not deter people from doing business with his exemplary individual as his reputation continues to soar ever onward and upward in the numismatics field.

    There were actually 2 coins involved. I don't have a photo of the second piece, a Roman Colonial bronze of the Antonine era.
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  21. WuntBeDruv

    WuntBeDruv Member

    Mr Davis, you are trotting out the oft-cited old chestnut that people selling finds from these countries are doing it a) as individuals, b) selling directly to the buyer, c) doing it to feed their families. This is an egregious misunderstanding of how the process actually works and who is involved in it.

    We're not dealing in the vast majority of instances here with individual, poverty-stricken people trying to get by. In many instances finds from places like Gaza, Syria, bits of Turkey and parts of Eastern Europe are being dug up by highly organised criminal gangs who are also involved in other types of crime. Sometimes they masquerade as practitioners of honest professions (in particular, construction work, fishing etc) to hide their activities. Looting and selling antiquities merely makes up a part of these people's 'criminal portfolio' - and it is a very useful way of funding their other activities too. These are bad people who do bad things, intimidation, coercion and violence are their watchwords. In a few instances, there's clear evidence they are linked with terrorist groups.

    The trope of the poor person trying to feed their family is an attractive story to latch onto because it dispels any guilt on the part of the purchaser - the person buying the coin feels like they are directly benefitting someone down on their luck. But it is highly patronising ('saviour complex'), romanticised and rarely fits the reality of what lurks behind. It can in fact undermine societal stability by bankrolling those who engage in drug manufacture and human trafficking amongst other things.
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