Rhode Island Surgeon Pleads Guilty in Fake Coin Case

Did you hear the one about the crooked doctor who thought he had millions of dollars in the palm of his hand, but as it turned out, it was just a few bad pennies?

Looked real to him

Looked real to him

Rhode Island hand surgeon Arnold Weiss, age 51, has pleaded guilty in a New York Criminal Court to trying to pawn off what he thought were three stolen ancient Italian coins. They were actually forgeries.

The good doctor Weiss, a professor of orthopedics at Brown University and former treasurer of the American Numismatic Society, was nabbed in January at a Waldorf-Astoria coin collectors convention, trying to sell the “rare” coins to an undercover U.S. Customs agent.

Big mistake.

Weiss, MD broke the law, according to police, because he admitted that he knew that – under the Code of Cultural & Landscape Heritage in Italy – it is a crime to remove any item of antiquity out of the country, if it has been unearthed over the past 100 years.

Dr Arnold Weiss

Dr Arnold Weiss

The daffy doctor told the informant the coins were stolen because “there’s no paperwork for these. They were dug up a few years ago,” according to investigators’ reports.

Weiss believed the coins were worth a quarter of a billion dollars, but he was a little off-base. After he was taken into custody, the D.A.’s office had the coins scanned with an electron-microscope, just to be sure. They were  fakes.

“Exquisite, extraordinary, but forgeries nonetheless,” said Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos, who himself had written a book about theft of antiquities during the Iraq War, called the “Thieves of Baghdad.”

Doctor Weiss entered a guilty plea to three misdemeanor charges. He was sentenced to 70 hours of community service, treating patients in Rhode Island. He also paid $1,000 fine for each of the three coins in the case, and turned over another 23 coins seized from him at the time of his arrest.

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As we have noted before, the idiot gene swims gleefully up and down the human intelligence river, and is indeed an equal-opportunity teaser. Medical Miscreants has researched the education of this highly-degreed fellow. It seems that Doctor Arnold-Peter Weiss is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. One has to wonder how proud the Johns Hopkins board of directors might be, whenever this character makes the news.

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