The Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Legendary Auctions pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in a Chicago federal courtroom on Tuesday.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Mark Theotikos admitted to having a role in the practices of Mastro Auctions during his employment there that led to indictments against former company CEO Bill Mastro, President Doug Allen and Theotikos. Mastro has pleaded guilty to fraud charges and Allen appears poised to do that same.
The scheme ran from 2001-2009.
According to the Tribune, Theotikos could face up to four years in prison but his lawyer will dispute the amount of fraud when Theotikos comes up for sentencing later this year.
The New York Daily News reported contents of the plea agreement included information that Theotikos had placed shill bids on a vintage Topps Baseball vending box in a December 2007 auction that drove the final price to $7,985.
“Absent defendant Theotikos’s shill bidding, Customer A could have won the vending box at a price of $2,541,” the plea agreement stated, according to the Daily News.
Mastro dissolved in 2009 and its assets were acquired by a new group, headed by Allen, which became Legendary Auctions.
The three are accused of participating in a scheme at Mastro Auctions for several years aimed at driving up auction prices through shill bidding. They were also accused of failing to disclose important information about certain collectibles, including the hobby's most famous card, the NM/MT T206 Honus Wagner.
Another former Mastro employee, William Boehm, is scheduled for trial in September, on charges of lying to FBI agents.