Episode 042: Doug Hess – Stolen Gold Coins and Fake Silver Bars


Retired agent Doug Hess served with the FBI for nearly 21 years.  In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Hess is interviewed about his investigation of a scheme conducted to defraud 150 coin dealers and collectors, known as numismatists, of $1 million in gold coins. During the investigation, Hess discovered a second scheme involving lead filled bars of silver that had the potential to severely damage the precious metals industry. For his efforts in these matters, Hess received the Sol Kaplan Award from the Professional Numismatists Guild.

Doug was assigned for a short time to a satellite office out of the Tampa Division, but spent most of his career in the Philadelphia Division. As a licensed pilot, Hess was initially assigned to the surveillance squad, Special Operations Group (SOG). Later, he returned to working his own cases on a squad handling major theft and interstate transportation of stolen property crimes.

Special Agent (Retired)

Douglas W. Hess

9/15/1981 – 5/31/2002











The following are links to newspaper articles reporting on retired agent Doug Hess’s investigation of the stolen gold coins and fake silver bars scam:

Coin Dealers Accused Of $1 Million Fraud

Agent Worth Weight In Gold to Dealers

FBI Agent Gets Award For Nabbing Coin-scam Pair

Hess, along with IRS agent and Assistant United States Attorney Rob Reed, displays $175,000 worth of the stolen gold coins which had not been melted, but was buried behind Funkhouser’s house instead and later recovered.











Visually inspecting and weighing the silver bars provided no indication of adulteration. Hess had the bars cut in half and chemically tested.














When cut in half, the silver bars were shown to be filled with lead.










Doug Hess received the Sol Kaplan Award from the Professional Numismatists Guild for his four-year pursuit of two subjects who bought $1.6 million in gold coins with worthless checks.










Doug Hess and retired agent Joe McQuillan stand behind a display of FBI “G-Men” collectibles from McQuillan’s memorabilia collection.













Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.


  1. Kelle WylyNovember 14, 2023

    Doug was a great man, and I looked up to him, and now still will that he is in the heavens. Rip my beloved “uncle Doug”. ✨

    1. Jerri WilliamsNovember 14, 2023

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Doug was a wonderful man. May he rest in truth.

  2. […] Episode 042: Doug Hess – Stolen Gold Coins and Fake Silver Bars […]

  3. Ron ChromulakNovember 5, 2016

    I was stationed with Doug in the Air Force in England. What a great down to earth individual.
    We have remained friends and kept in contact with each other since the late 70’s.
    Too bad we don’t have more like him in our intelligence and security agencys.

    1. Jerri WilliamsNovember 5, 2016

      Yes indeed. Doug’s a great guy and he was a dedicated agent.


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