Chairman's Message

Philip N. Diehl

I’m going to talk about two types of money in this message: the real kind and the fake kind.

As most of you know, ICTA launched an ambitious anti-counterfeiting initiative last January. Our goal is to mobilize law enforcement agencies to finally take action against the growing threat counterfeiters pose to our business. We’ve tried this in years past, but to no avail, because law enforcement officials never grasped the counterfeiting threat. But now they do, after only a few months, thanks to the efforts of ICTA’s Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACTF). In a moment, I’ll describe the impressive progress we’ve already made, but first I want to talk about real money.

The ICTA board has adopted a two-year fundraising goal of $500,000 to support the ACTF approved 2017 $210,000 budget, and a proposed 2018 $300,000 budget. In other words, to fund the ACTF for the next 18 months, ICTA members, on average, would need to match their 2017 dues payments with similar-sized donations to the ACTF. And based on where we are today, unless we cut the ACTF’s modest 2017 budget, we’d still have another $142,000 to raise this year.

Fundraising got off to a fast start in January with two pledges totaling $60,000. But since that time, only a few ICTA members have stepped forward to support our efforts. A working group of the ACTF is now ramping up our fundraising. Kathy McFadden, ICTA’s executive director, and Beth Deisher, ACTF’s director, have lent a hand, but their plates are full doing the daily work of running ICTA and the ACTF.

I’ll put it plainly: ICTA cannot sustain these efforts if you, our members, do not step up.

We are not relying solely on ICTA members to fund our budget. We’re reaching out to a wider group of businesses with a stake in our fight against counterfeiters. But we still need you to step up, today, not with a token contribution but with one that reflects how crucial our efforts are for your business. Law enforcement agencies have realized the urgent need to act against counterfeiters—now we need you to demonstrate that you understand the future of our business is at stake.

I am not asking you to invest in a speculative venture. Beth Deisher is already working, every day, with officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and the Secret Service. At their request, the ACTF is compiling a list that has produced more than 70 dealers and advanced collectors with deep expertise to assist law enforcement in identifying counterfeit coins seized in operations across the country. Beth is also speaking daily with dealers, nationwide, seeking assistance from the ACTF.

More crucially, the ACTF is already demonstrating its value by mobilizing law enforcement to bring the full weight of the law against counterfeiters we have helped identify. We’re at an early stage in these cases, so we’re not yet able to describe them in detail, but we will as soon as federal law enforcement officials announce arrests. I’m certain we’ll be providing assistance in many more major cases this year, demonstrating that counterfeiters, and those who import, distribute, market, and sell their products, can no longer operate with impunity. But, in the end, that depends on you.

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