The investigation, indictments, and forth coming trial for two of the dealers accused of allegedly doctoring jerseys and selling them as game used continues to draw nation media attention. Unfortunately, none of it is good.
Here are some quotes from a recent Chicago Tribune article about OUR hobby that make me cringe, because so much of it is true:
"Now teams look at us as an industry and say this is a scuzzy
industry," said Troy Kinunen, who in 2005 founded the prominent
authentication firm MEARS Online Auctions. "And the collectors who
continue to perpetuate this, to continue support people involved in this
kind of stuff, they're not helping themselves."
". . .experts and collectors routinely cite how the industry is
littered with hucksters and scam artists. There is no single regulatory
entity with oversight. Third-party authenticators often serve as dealers
as well, a potential conflict of interest."
court records, Oldridge admitted that from 2004 to 2008, he and others
doctored jerseys and then sold them to other companies, including
trading card businesses. Five others were charged as part of a five-year
federal sting. "
" . . .collectors and experts said it's
essential to be knowledgeable on authentication — a complicated process
where there is little agreement on what constitutes best practice."
"Photo-matching can be faked. It's a very amateurish way of
authenticating," he said. "It's almost impossible to tell on a modern
jersey if it's game-worn."
"There's a lot of bad anecdotal information that people have just accepted as fact."
"But collector Rick Moore of Florida, who said he has bought regularly
from JO Sports since 2008, wasn't scared off by the federal case. "It
makes no difference to me now," Moore said. "When you were a kid, did
you ever steal money off your parents' end table to buy candy or
cigarettes? Sure you did. All of us did." (Seriously, I think it's a
little bit of a bigger issue than that you stupid buffoon)
"Peter Nash, a collector, blogger and author who has helped expose
counterfeit items, said investing in memorabilia is always a risk for
casual fans who don't do enough research. "It's a total minefield," Nash
said. "You're going to get burned left and right."
Here are the accused dealers, some of which have already reached plea deals. Needless to say, steer clear.
Two men are charged by indictment with mail fraud:
ERIC INSELBERG, a resident of New Jersey, involved in the business operations of Taylor Huff, Inc. and Pasadena Trading Corp, from late 2001 through late 2009, in two counts of mail fraud. BRADLEY WELLS, a resident of Florida, involved in the business of Authentic Sports, Inc., and
Historic Auctions, LLC, both Florida businesses, from late 2005 through the middle of 2009, in two counts of mail fraud.
Four men are charged by information with mail fraud:
BERNARD GERNAY, a resident of New Jersey, involved in the business operations of Pro Sports Investments, Inc., a New Jersey business;
BRADLEY HORNE, a South Carolina resident, involved in the business operations of Authentic
Sports Memorabilia, Inc., a South Carolina business; JARROD OLDRIDGE, a resident of Nevada, involved in business operations of JO Sports, Inc., a Nevada business; and,
MITCHELL SCHUMACHER, a resident of Wisconsin, using the trade name MS Sports.