Massive Fake Autograph Scheme Lands Missouri Man in Jail

A Jasper County, Mo., man has pleaded guilty in federal court to a scheme to defraud more than 1,200 victims by selling fake autographs through eBay as well as illegally possessing a firearm when he was arrested after a police chase.

David Bruce Shryock, 49, of Jasper County, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to wire fraud and to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Shryock admitted that, from February 2005 to December 2010, he used eight separate eBay accounts to defraud 1,232 victims. Shryock sold record album covers and sports memorabilia bearing forged autographs. In order to evade detection and continue his scheme when his eBay and PayPal accounts were suspended, Shryock opened other accounts in the names of various persons. Proceeds from the sales were deposited into various bank accounts controlled by those persons, who then withdrew the funds and gave the money to Shryock, minus a percentage for their assistance in the scheme.  One local media outlet reported that those friends of Shryock sometimes lost money after eBay and Paypal took back payments from their accounts after buyer complaints.

Shryock defrauded his victims out of almost $175,000 through his scheme. EBay and PayPal lost $2,512 as the result of reimbursing customers for claims regarding fraudulent transactions and failure to provide merchandise.

The plea agreement cites one example in which Shryock sold the Van Halen album, “5150,” bearing what he falsely claimed were the artists’ autographs. The winning eBay bid for the album was $177.

Shryock was arrested on Dec. 15, 2010, following a police chase. According to today’s plea agreement, Joplin police officers responded to a call regarding a burglary in progress at The Law Offices of Ty Gaither, 740 Illinois in Joplin. When officers arrived, the back door of the business was broken out and a Cadillac was parked behind the business. When Shryock walked out of the business and saw the police officers, he got into the Cadillac and drove off at a high rate of speed. Another officer, who had been parked in front of the business, initiated his lights and sirens but Shryock refused to stop and a pursuit ensued. Shryock drove off a cliff and ran from his vehicle, but was arrested after a brief foot chase.

Officers searched Shryock’s vehicle and found a Norinco 9mm semi-automatic pistol, which Ty Gaither identified as his, and which he had been keeping at his office.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Shryock has prior felony convictions for forgery, failure to return rental property, possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful merchandising practice.

Under federal statutes, Shryock is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Carl Junction, Mo., Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.


  1. […] these sites sell autographs that are not authentic, whether they are stamped, copied or downright a fraudulent. Though Illegal, these sites find a way to operate and scam individuals of hundreds of thousands of […]