One of several sports memorabilia dealers charged with mail fraud for selling fake game worn jerseys, will spend a year in prison.
Mitchell Schumacher, who operated MS Sports out of the Milwaukee area, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court to one year and one day in the federal prison system. He had pleaded guilty in November of 2011 to altering ordinary jerseys to make them look game worn as part of a larger scam.
A total of five former dealers were arrested and prosecuted for fraud after a lengthy investigation over the sale of fake ‘game worn’ jerseys that went on for several years.
Prosecutors say Schumacher obtained “hundreds” of jerseys that were not game used and made changes to the names and numbers or shape of the jerseys, sometimes adding dirt or scuff marks to make them look like they’d been worn in games. According to the plea agreement, he then sold them to fellow dealer Bradley Horne, knowing Horne and others “intended to re-sell, consign and auction the jerseys to sports trading card companies and other buyers by falsely and fraudulently misrepresenting to the buyers that the jerseys were game used.”
According to investigators, Schumacher and others involved in the scheme provided phony certificates of authenticity to buyers.
Schumacher received a lighter sentence than government statutes dictated because he agreed to cooperate with agents investigating the jersey fraud cases of Horne and Bradley Wells, leading to guilty pleas and prison sentences of several months for each.
Restitution in Schumacher’s case, if it can be determined, was deferred for 60 days.
He will begin serving his sentence prior to October 6.
Horne, Bradley Wells, Jarrod Oldridge and Bernard Gernay, all of whom pleaded guilty to selling fake jerseys, were scheduled to be released from federal custody over the last several months after serving time.
Steve Jensen, who ran Minnesota-based Vintage Authentics, was given three years’ probation including four months on home detention, for selling non-authentic jerseys.