Feds: Brothers Indicted in Scheme Involving Sale Of Counterfeit Baseball Cards

An Ohio man and his brother have been indicted on fraud charges after federal prosecutors say they defrauded six customers of more than $60,000 through a scheme involving vintage baseball cards.

Brecksville OhioSteven Norris, age 38, of Brecksville, and his brother, Scott Norris, age 40, of Milton, Penn., are named in the nine-count indictment. The charges include mail fraud and wire fraud.

DOJ-U-S-ATTORNEYS-OFFICE“The charges allege that the defendants made tens of thousands of dollars in fraud proceeds using the great legends of baseball as trade bait,”  said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “Now it is the defendants who are hooked.”

Prosecutors say between 2006 and 2012,  the Norris brothers advertised various baseball cards for sale on eBay including a 1952 Mickey Mantle and 1933 Babe Ruth cards. They utilized numerous email addresses to list the cards for sale  and accepted payments from bidders but failed to deliver the cards as required. In some instances, Steven and Scott Norris sent counterfeit or “reprinted” cards to successful bidders rather than the genuine cards advertised for sale, according to the indictment.

1952 Topps Mantle ungraded

Sample 1952 Topps Mantle

In other instances, the brothers contacted individuals who bid on the cards, told them the high bidder was unable to complete the transaction, and asked if the “runner up” bidder was interested in buying the item. They would then negotiate a sales price and direct the buyer to mail a cashier’s check to an address in Brecksville owned by the defendants’ parents. After receiving payment, Steven and Scott Norris would fail to deliver the items in question or send fakes to the buyers, according to the indictment

As a result of the scheme, individual bidders and PayPal suffered losses totaling approximately $60,310, according to the indictment.

The indictment charges that in furtherance of the scheme, the defendants mailed or caused certain items to be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service and transmitted or caused the transmission of certain interstate wire communications.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert W. Kern following an investigation by the United States Secret Service.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal records, if any, the defendants’ role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.