The feds have charged an 82-year-old Colorado man with defrauding trading card collectors, including residents of New York and Michigan, over a four-year period. Last week, they charged him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“The defendant is alleged to have orchestrated a years-long and extensive scheme to defraud sports trading card enthusiasts and the sports memorabilia industry,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace. “Our office is committed to combating counterfeiting at all levels of the market.”
Federal prosecutors allege that between April 2015 and July 2019, the defendant conspired with others to sell and trade sports trading cards, including 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie cards, to victims he found on the Internet and through online sales platforms;
“Defendant misrepresented that the sports trading cards it offered were graded by a professional authentication firm, when in fact the trading cards were not authentic. The defendant defrauded his victims of more than $800,000 in cash and genuine sports trading cards that were sold as counterfeits.”
In the criminal complaint, prosecutors allege that the defendant and others obtained genuine fakes and other indicia of authenticity from an unnamed grading company, including its logos and grading labels, and used those materials to falsely represent that the fake sports cards were authentic and graded. by the company.
Charging documents alleged that a Las Vegas sports card store purchased two baseball cards from the defendant that were later determined to be counterfeit by an appraisal company. Store employees produced a copy of the defendant’s driver’s license, after which he allegedly sought a fake ID from an unnamed associate.
In 2019, the defendant allegedly asked a Long Island collector to remove a deal from an online auction site that listed two Michael Jordan basketball cards. The unnamed victim allegedly transferred $4,500 to the defendant, whose cards were later determined by the company to be fraudulent.
The defendant similarly defrauded a Tom Brady sports card collector in Michigan in 2017, according to the charging document, which states that the transactions between the defendant and the two victims were merely “a representative set of fraudulent sports card transactions engaged in by the defendant and his co-conspirators.”
In an article about the case, the AP (via ColoradoSun.com) reports that the defendant said he did nothing wrong in the brief phone conversation.
Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt. The full press release is posted on the DOJ website.