SEMINOLE – A coin dealer is facing several counts of grand theft after Pinellas County detectives say he defrauded 31 customers of about $220,000 over a five-year span.
Seth Felipe Lutz, 55, of Tampa, was arrested on Thursday in Hillsborough County after a Pinellas County investigation that began in 2015 revealed he had stolen money from several customers at Paradise Coins and Collectibles, 8974 Seminole Blvd., according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
In 2015, the Pinellas County Consumer Protection and Sheriff's Office received complaints of failed business transactions from customers.
Detectives say Lutz was accepting money from customers for gold and silver bullion coins. After customers prepaid for the coins, detectives said, Lutz would send partial shipments of the merchandise to some victims, while others received nothing in return.
Detectives say many of the victims live out-of-state and were responding to Craigslist ads for the coin sales. Other victims were previous customers or knew Lutz.
At first, the Pinellas County Consumer Protection worked to resolve the complaints as consumer-business related disputes, but when the number of complaints increased and little or no reimbursement was made, Pinellas detectives assumed the investigation.
He was arrested by Tampa Police officers Thursday at his Tampa residence. He was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail without bail and faces one count of aggravated white collar crime and 37 counts of grand theft.
He will face criminal charges in Pinellas County.
Anyone else who may have been defrauded is asked to call 727-582-6200.