A former Coeur d’Alene coin shop owner was sentenced to six months in jail this morning for six counts of petty theft for failing to fulfill customers’ gold and silver orders.
Kevin E. Mitchell, 49, had been indicted on felony charges of grand theft by false promise for allegedly scheming to defraud customers between 2009 and 2012. He agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charges and avoid a trial.
First District Judge Fred Gibler also sentenced Mitchell to four years of supervised probation and ordered him to pay the victims what they are owed. That includes more than $80,000 to four victims, with the amounts yet to be determined for the other two.
Mitchell’s stepdaughter, Sarah M. Mitchell, who helped run the former CoiNuts store in a strip mall off U.S. Highway 95, received a suspended jail sentence today for her guilty plea to one count of petty theft. Gibler ordered her to two years of probation and 240 hours of community service, and she must repay more than $100,000 to five victims.
Both Kevin and Sarah Mitchell entered Alford pleas, meaning they do not admit guilt but acknowledge they could be convicted if the cases went to trial.
Several victims took the witness stand today to explain how they gave the Mitchells tens of thousands of dollars for gold and silver, then waited months for delivery that in most cases never happened. They said they would repeatedly call or visit the coin shop, only to be told it would take more time to get their coins. CoiNuts then closed in July 2012.
Michael Haenke of Coeur d’Alene quoted Bible verses in court, then looked at Kevin Mitchell and said, “Kevin, you have a much larger problem than this court can give you, unless you change your ways.”
Delia Beck of Blanchard said, “Kevin Mitchell, in our eyes, you are unethical, a thief, deceiver, lack moral sensibility.”
In December 2011 she and her husband gave Kevin Mitchell a check for $20,000 for three gold coins and 500 ounces of silver. They never received those goods and went to police to file a complaint when they learned the shop had closed.
Beck said, “Who can we trust? Who can we ever trust? Your excuses are meaningless. … Kevin, you are disguised as a harmless sheep, but you really are a wolf that tore us all apart.”
When Kevin Mitchell stood to address Gibler, he did not apologize or express regret. “I did not intend to not fulfill and of their orders,” he said.
Gibler said Mitchell’s refusal to speak with his victims when they tried to ask about their orders “is not the way a legitimate businessman conducts business.”
The judge said the conduct caused “apprehension, anxiety and fear” among customers who were looking to make investments for their retirement or their children.
As part of the plea agreement, authorities will sell some gold coins that belonged to the business but have been in police evidence since a burglary at the shop, as well as a Hummer that Kevin Mitchell drove. Proceeds will go to the victims in the case.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.