Charges were reduced Wednesday against a father and son from Derby who are accused of trying to pass privately minted currency at a Buffalo Sabres game.
Daniel Buczek, 55, and his son Shane, 34, now face misdemeanor charges when they return to City Court March 7 before Judge Joseph A. Fiorella March 7.
Deputy District Attorney Molly Jo Musarra told the judge Wednesday that after an investigation, she decided to reduce the original felony charges in connection with the Buczeks' use of Liberty silver dollars.
James Ostrowki, the Buczeks attorney, and the Buczeks could not be reached to comment following the court proceeding.
The two were arrested after trying to buy beer with $20 Liberties from vendors at the Dec. 26 Sabres game in HSBC Arena.
Based on the complaint of Edward M. Cotter, a Buffalo police detective working as a private security officer during the game, the men initially were charged with felony counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument and criminal impersonation. They now face misdemeanor criminal possession of a forged instrument, misdemeanor criminal impersonation and a noncriminal charge of harassment.
Daniel Buczek has said there are about 15 million Liberty coins in circulation nationwide because the pure silver coins are a medium of exchange that's used in the country much the way barter is still practiced.
The Buczeks said the privately minted coins are routinely accepted at various Southtowns businesses. Liberty dollars are made by an organization in Indiana that is trying to replace the United States currency system with a system backed by silver. According to officials at the U.S. Mint, no business is required to accept Liberty dollars for goods or services, but businesses can take them if they choose to do so.