A Waterville man who sold counterfeit coins was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to serve 10 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

Mwashuma M. Sithole, 32, was sentenced by Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. in U.S. District Court in Bangor for the crime, to which he pleaded guilty on May 9, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice that cites U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II.

Sithole sold and pawned about $12,000 in counterfeit Morgan dollars from 2013 through 2015, according to court records.

A Morgan dollar is a U.S. dollar coin that was minted between 1878 and 1904, and then again in 1921, according to the justice department release.

Sithole reportedly started ordering the coins, made in China and offered as counterfeits, online in 2014. He paid $2 for each coin, which resembled genuine Morgan dollars in design, weight and appearance.

“He knew the coins were counterfeit, but told the buyers that the coins were genuine Morgan dollars,” the release says. “He sold and pawned coins in Augusta, Newport, Farmington, Lewiston and South Portland.”

Authorities searched Sithole’s home Jan. 22, 2015, and seized about 1,200 counterfeit Morgan coins. Augusta, Waterville, Auburn, Lewiston, South Portland and Newport police departments, as well as the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Maine State Police and the U.S. Secret Service, conducted the investigation.

Sithole, through his attorney, Hunter J. Tzovarras, had asked the court to consider a sentence of probation rather than prison time.

In a document filed with the court Dec. 20, Tzovarras wrote that Sithole was “continuing his life down the right path” and would best serve his victims by being able to work, provide them restitution, pursue his education at Kaplan University and support his family.

“Mr. Sithole has taken full responsibility for his offense,” the document says. “He accepted responsibility from the start — once the officers searched his home.”

It says Sithole had never spent more than 10 days in jail, this was his first felony conviction, and he has relationships and family that make him a good candidate for probation. He also has a committed relationship with a woman, that he has helped raise her three daughters and has been a positive influence in their lives, the document states. Sithole’s mother died from breast cancer in 2011, after which he suffered from depression and alcoholism, according to the document.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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