A Pennsylvania dealer on trail for deceptive business practices told a jury Thursday that he didn’t know many of the autographed items he was selling weren’t real.
Roger Lee Hooper blamed other dealers he’d been buying from for the bogus autographs and other items that angered eBay buyers in 2005. Hooper is accused of selling a variety of non-genuine merchandise through the account of a former friend, who spent thousands of dollars making restitution to buyers who demanded refunds.
Cumberland County Detective Sergeant Earl Bock told the court during a 2008 preliminary hearing that a machine for re-sealing opened packs and wax sealing material had been found as part of what he called an “assembly line” operation which involved Hooper allegedly removing the valuable cards and replacing them with others.
Hooper claimed the items police saw were packs he was sealing after they’d been damaged and that the machine was used to seal items in plastic so they could be shipped to buyers.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Daniel Sodus told Sports Collectors Daily in 2008 that when when investigators executed a search warrant on Hooper’s property, they found a work area packs partially opened and sticks of gum nearby. Bock told a local newspaper earlier in the summer of 2008 that Hooper’s fingerprints were found on some of the cards located inside unopened packs.
A day after autograph authenticator James Spence took the stand Wednesday as a prosecution witness, Steve Hart, owner of Baseball Card Exchange was called to testify as well. The Patriot-Ledger has the latest on the case, which could come to a close very soon.