The Idaho Attorney General’s office has filed a lawsuit alleging that a former Coeur d’Alene coin store, its owner and its operator broke state consumer protection laws by failing to deliver gold and silver to customers who paid thousands of dollars in advance.
The suit seeks $664,326 in restitution for 18 consumers who complained they were ripped off by CoiNuts Inc., its owner, Kevin E. Mitchell, of Hayden, and his stepdaughter and the store’s operator, Sarah M. Mitchell, of Hayden. The suit, filed Tuesday in Kootenai County District Court, also seeks $90,000 in civil penalties.
The Mitchells “made false and deceptive promises to consumers” about the delivery of their purchases and profited from consumers’ losses, the attorney general alleges.
One customer paid $103,800 for 60 gold coins but received only two coins and was not refunded the remaining $100,340, the complaint states.
Another customer paid the Mitchells more than $50,000 for 20 ounces of gold and 520 ounces of silver, expecting delivery within two to four weeks, the suit says. He said he was unable to reach the Mitchells to ask about the status of his order.
Other former customers have taken the Mitchells to court and won default judgments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Two judgments entered in February were for $239,503 and $419,710.
Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said he is considering whether to file criminal charges. McHugh’s office declined to prosecute Kevin Mitchell last year after a Coeur d’Alene police detective recommended charging Mitchell with criminal conspiracy and passing bad checks.
CoiNuts registered as a corporation in Idaho in November 2007 and operated in a strip mall at 296 W. Sunset Ave., facing U.S. Highway 95. The store closed last July.