Two former Rogers Photo Archives employees have pleaded guilty to stealing over $2 million worth of photographs from the business. Christopher Jackson, age 38, of Alexander, Arkansas, and Steve Bernard Roby, age 41, of North Little Rock, were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Owned by former card shop owner John Rogers, the company scans photos from the archives of publications, returns digitized copies and retains the rights to sell the originals. A large part of its business involves sports photos.
At the plea hearing, the defendants admitted that they diverted funds submitted by customers purchasing photos to their personal PayPal accounts. After Jackson’s employment was terminated, Jackson provided lists of photographs to Roby, and Roby was paid by Jackson to steal the photographs and provide them to Jackson. During execution of a search warrant at Jackson’s residence on May 17, 2012, North Little Rock Police Department recovered over 100,000 stolen photographs with an estimated value of over $2 million. From March 2010 through May 2012, Jackson listed approximately 37,383 stolen photographs for sale on eBay using his personal account, and sold 8,347 stolen photographs on eBay. Jackson received payment for the stolen photographs via PayPaltransactions totaling $138,605.04.
“I am happy to report the thousands of photos recovered will be returned to their rightful owner,” stated Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “It is a good day when we can bring justice to a business owner who has worked hard to build a reputable business. With the return of these photos, the archive of photos will be greatly restored and the thieves who thought they could profit from them are facing serious time in prison for their greed.”
The statutory penalty for conspiracy to commit wire fraud is not more than twenty (20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, three years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.
Both defendants remain free on their own recognizance pending sentencing.
We received word over the weekend of a rare find of 1916 Ferguson Bakery pennants including one of the scarcest of all. It happened in the Midwest and while the value may not be astronomical, it’s definitely going to be of interest to those who appreciate pre-War material. The BF2 issue is one of the more underrated issues of that era. Even though they’re not technically ‘cards’, they have a lot of card-like qualities and are just plain cool. We’ll spill the beans in the next couple of days as we get more details.
Bidding in Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night event in New York is underway. Mike Eruzione’s 1980 Miracle on Ice jersey is already at $375,000 and a gold medal from teammate Steve Christoff has powered its way to $350,000.
Two items were pulled from the auction Saturday, however. A baseball purportedly signed in 1940 by Lou Gehrig was called into question by an autograph expert and a 1917 World Series ‘Last Out’ baseball was actually created no earlier than 1926.
USA Today is reporting on the auction of Steve Garvey memorabilia we told you about earlier this month. They’ve got some comments from Garvey in this story.