Ariz. rare-coin broker gets prison for NYC scam

June 6, 2011 - 7:57 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — An Arizona-based rare-coins broker is headed to prison for three to nine years for talking a New York City octogenarian into investing her life savings in gold and silver coins, then stealing them from the woman's home to resell them.

Stephanie Brown was sentenced Monday. She'll have to pay $1 million in restitution. She pleaded guilty last month to charges including grand larceny.

Brown's lawyer, Barry Turner, says the 44-year-old was grappling with alcoholism at the time of her crime and felt "her moral compass had been compromised." He says her plea deal spares her potential Arizona and California prosecutions.

Prosecutors say Brown played on an 83-year-old woman's fear of instability in financial markets to get her to buy the coins Brown later stole, under the guise of arranging them.