The prosecution of a long-running fake autograph scheme based in Ohio came to a close Friday when the last person charged in the case was sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to theft, money laundering and fraud charges.
According to WYTV in Youngstown, Craig McCormick will spend three years behind bars and five years on probation for his role in the scam, which prosecutors say defrauded at least 20,000 eBay customers out of approximately $2 million from 2010-2014.
McCormick was one of at least eight people who have now pleaded guilty and been sentenced for participating in the scam. The harshest penalty was handed down earlier this month when the person prosecutors say was most heavily involved, 31-year-old Cliff Panezich, was sentenced to six years in jail.
The case involved the sale of what were primarily inexpensive autographed items carrying falsified certificates of authenticity. The case involves footballs, trading cards, posters and other items. When complaints from buyers resulted in the eBay and Paypal accounts being shut down, other accounts were utilized. Some of those charged didn’t participate in the actual sales, but assisted in harboring the proceeds from the non-genuine merchandise.
McCormick appeared in court for his sentencing Friday, telling the judge, “Again, I cannot apologize enough for the harm I’ve done, but I can honestly say, I plan to live each and every day to make up for it.”