Three men employed by one of the largest trading card retailers in the sports memorabilia industry have been handed prison sentences and ordered to pay restitution for using a computer software flaw to steal $1.3 million worth of trading card boxes from Dave & Adam’s Card World in 2013 and 2014.
Last September, all three men pleaded guilty to second degree grand larceny in the case.
The Erie County (NY) District Attorney’s Office told Sports Collectors Daily that Aaron Hollars was sentenced Friday to 2-6 years in state prison and over $759,000 in restitution. He received credit for $60,000 in cards he returned to the business following his arrest.
David Woods was sentenced to 1-3 years and $364,715 in restitution. Woods was given $20,000 credit for returned product.
Anthony Martone will spend six months behind bars and five years on probation for his role in the thefts. He will also pay $82,319 in restitution following the return of $20,000 in product to the business.
All three men are in their 20s and 30s.
The district attorney’s office says that between January 1, 2013 and July 17, 2014, the men stole massive amounts of product from Dave and Adam’s, where they had been employed as managers or assistant managers. Prosecutors say they the men found a loophole in the software used to process retail transactions, enabling them to use personal credit cards to take multiple boxes of cards while only paying for one. Exploiting the problem, they stole large numbers of boxes before being discovered.
The Erie County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and made the arrests.
According to the Buffalo News, Hollars learned he could ring up the sale of a single box of cards, charge it to a credit card, then purchase additional boxes without being charged. He then told the others while they were having drinks at a local establishment. The men sold some of those stolen boxes on eBay and retained others.
“They could have been human beings and told us about it, but instead they decided to become criminals,” Dave & Adam’s co-owner Adam Martin told the newspaper. Martin said if the men had discovered the flaw and reported it, they would have been given bonuses.
All three appeared remorseful in court and according to the newspaper, families of the three members cried as each spoke to Judge Kenneth Case.
“I just want to deeply apologize to everyone involved, especially Dave Martin and Adam Silver and everybody else that is affected. This was not me,” Hollars stated. “I’ve been getting treatment, I want to continue to get treatment because regardless of what happened I don’t want anything else like this to happen to me.”
Martin told the newspaper his company survived the loss of product because of its robust online sales but indicated the thefts resulted in job losses and layoffs while the business took a major financial hit.
Judge Case called the $1.3 million theft “a major heist” and a “betrayal” by the men of the company that employed them.
“They built a successful business from nothing … and the three of you almost destroyed that success story,” he said.
The charges were the highest for which the three could have been convicted had the case gone to trial. In other words, they were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and did not receive a plea bargain.