Comments about ‘Police cite Vernal man accused of paying bill with 2,500 pennies’

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Published: Friday, June 3 2011 8:00 p.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

What a doofus.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Funny because the pennies are legal tender. I swear I would pay the fine in pennies.

Heber City, UT

Waste of police time. If a penny is not legal tender then they should stop making them. The clinic, in my opinion, acted very childish. If you do not want this to happen specify that the payment must be in the largest denomination possible.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

if pennies were not legal tender, the clinic would have a legitimate complaint. I guess there isn't enough crime to investigate so the police have to get involved in what at most is a civil matter

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Tell me again what the crime was?

He paid a bill with lawful money of the United States, in the full amount demanded.

What next, arrest people at the grocery store for "disorderly conduct" if they don't have exact change for a $74.67 tab and hand the clerk a bunch of one, five and ten dollar bills?

The guy may be a jerk and deliberately trying to annoy the vendor, but that is not a crime.

The cops are way off base even responding to a call on a situation like this, let alone writing a citation. Don't they have any "real" crimes they could be working on instead of wasting time on this?

Kearns, UT

Then it must stand to reason that business harassing individuals for payment on a constant basis is also disorderly conduct, right? Why didn't the officers write up the hospital for disorderly conduct? If the hospital denies the pennies they also surrender any claimed debts.

Salt Lake City, UT

Wow! The police department is way off base on this one. Slow day in Vernal?

Olympia, WA

It seems like this issue isn't so much about him paying with pennies, but about him doing it in a confrontational and disruptive manner. As mentioned in the article he was upset and threw 2,500 pennies onto the counter and demanded they count it. That is an aggressive act and I can understand why it would be disruptive to a business operation. Had he simply came in with a jar of pennies, explained why he was using such an unconventional option and was polite about it, I'm sure no cops would have been called.

Tom in Oregon City

Actually, pennies are legal tender only up to $0.25 worth. Regional administrator of national banks told me that, in late 70's, when I complained about similar mistreatment over attempt to buy a half-gallon of ice cream late one evening from a local store. He even sent me a copy of the statute; I've lost that but here's the reference:

"The minor coins of the United States are legal tender for any amount not exceeding 25 cents in any one payment. Act Feb. 12, 1873, Rev. Stat. ' 387, Comp. Stat. ' 6574, 6 Fed.Stat. Anno. 2d. ed. p. 298."

I've seen cases where tax agencies, banks, and such have accepted wheelbarrows, bags, boxes of coins: they were being gracious, because they could have refused to accept and then applied the penalty for non-payment.

Tom in Oregon City

Oops. I was wrong. After posting that reference to the 1873 coinage law, I kept
looking, and see that it was superseded in 1965.

31 U.S.C. 5103: "United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve
notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are
legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues. Foreign gold or
silver coins are not legal tender for debts."

Treasury has instructive comments, here (you'll have to take the spaces out of the URL; the site won't allow it posted intact):

http:// www.treasury.gov/ resource-center/ faqs/ Currency/ Pages/

El caballero
Tremonton, UT

I'm with DN Subscriber. Where's the crime? Sure, it was immature, but the guy paid his bill with pennies. It is a legal way to pay debts and if they cite him for that, what else can be cited?
I think police are using that "Disorderly conduct" as a catch all for anything they don't like. Starting to look a little fishy.


I also find it immature. If he wanted to pay his bill in pennies, he jhad the opportunity to simply lay the bag down on the desk, as I'm sure he didn't lug them in in his open hands. He wanted to make a scene, and yes while pennies are a valid payment option, creating a scene by dumping them all over the place out of his displeasure at paying bills isn't an option. Would you fling your twenties around the store at Walmarts? Pay attention..grown up, Pay your bills, in pennies if you want, but don't be a baby about it. The fine was earned and consider it a life lesson.

Medina, TN

I believe Penny's ARE legal tender, it is those Illegal Federal Reserve "NOTES" they are actually just i.o.u' s !


Don't be Useful Idiots! These days its seems way too many people are primed and ready to follow the herd to the slaughter. Paying in pennies is not a crime, being irate with office staff is not a crime, Dumping money on a desk is not a crime. A crime is what the police department did in issuing a citation in this matter, and the medical office for harassing this gentleman who didn't bend down and take it in the rear for them. Wake up before our own country becomes a gulag!


Joejohnson is right...but don't make us out to be anarchists. It's legal tender so get over it.

Shamrock, why is the bill payer a doofus? Why are you a sheeple?

Why are poeple so quick to come down on the side of the system/gov't and not the individual?


I really hope that this guy gets 14,000 pennies ready in case the judge decides to fine him.


So if I paid with a $20 and five $1s and the $1s fell on the ground, I'd get fined? Immature, sure, but the money is legit, So perhaps can pay his $140 fine in pennies as well, just roll them first.

Sandy, UT

2500 pennies is probably worth more than any other method of payment, particularly three pieces of paper (two tens and a five). The clinic should have been happy about it.


IF in fact he paid with any pennys dating 1981 or older,he actiually paid MORE that the fine due. pennys minted before 81 are pur copper and worth about 2.8 cents right now!

Farmington, UT

Well,.......I certainly will feel a lot safer now, should I happen to be in Vernal, because the police don't mess around with trying to sort out any kind of trouble, they just cite you and then you can explain it to the judge. Just think what life would be like if every police department operated that way.....maybe we could give Cube a run for its money. (Sarcasm)

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