Sentencing for two former Mastro Auctions representatives who have pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges has been delayed until early 2016.
Doug Allen and Mark Theotikos had been scheduled to learn their fate on October 14 but as first reported by the New York Daily News Tuesday, attorneys representing the two men filed a motion in U.S. District Court to postpone until January 7. Judge Ronald Guzman granted that request.
Prosecutors filed a pre-sentence investigation report earlier this month and attorneys for Allen and Theotikos say they need more time to respond to what was inside that document, currently under seal.
Attorneys for the two men say they believe the government’s contention that shill bidding the two men were involved with impacted more than 2,500 buyers is inflated.
“The difference between the government’s loss calculations and Mr. Allen’s loss calculations results in a ten-level enhancement difference, which would have a significant impact on the applicable sentencing range,” defense attorneys wrote in a motion dated September 16. They say they will submit their own “expert reports” in support of their own calculation of the loss amount.
Allen and Theotikos each pleaded guilty to fraud charges last summer. Prosecutors say they were part of a long-running scheme at the now defunct Chicago area auction house that included raising bids through phony accounts, which forced winning bidders to pay more for items than they should have.
Company founder Bill Mastro has already been sentenced to 20 months in prison for his role in fraudulent activity, which took place from 2002-2009. In addition to participating in the shill bidding scam, Mastro also admitted he sold phony and altered memorabilia, including a T206 Honus Wagner whose sides he had cut to make it appear near mint. Mastro had publicly stated that he had done nothing to the Wagner card, despite suspicions within the hobby.
Allen is expected to receive the most severe penalty after he allegedly tipped off company investor John Rogers he’d be wearing a recording device as part of an FBI investigation. Prosecutors had asked for a 12-year sentence but it will be up to Guzman to decide the appropriate penalty. Rogers, too, is currently under FBI investigation and facing numerous civil lawsuits in connection with unpaid loans from banks and individuals while operating his businesses in Arkansas.