An Ohio man has become the fifth person arrested in connection with what investigators say is the biggest case of domestic fraud in eBay history.
The Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office told WFMJ-TV in Youngstown that 37-year-old Daniel Marino of Austintown pleaded guilty Tuesday to engaging in corrupt activity. Marino was fined $4,000 and placed on six months house arrest.
However, Assistant Prosecutor Martin Desmond says Marino and four men who pleaded guilty to similar charges earlier this year were merely bit players in a larger scheme involving fake autographs that cost thousands of buyers more than $2 million.
Daniel Martini of Girard, OH, a former local business owner, pleaded guilty in September to money laundering while James Serenko of Youngstown, Jason Lenzi of Columbiana and Shawn Pelo of Warren, all pleaded guilty to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. They are awaiting sentencing.
Desmond told the TV station that all of the men are cooperating with the investigation which may involve others, including a woman and her son who “are suspected of masterminding the alleged fraud.”
The scheme, prosecutors say, involved obtaining forged autographs of pro athletes and selling them on eBay with phony certificates of authenticity included.
Desmond told News 21 that the money received through those online sales was laundered through bank accounts belonging to others.