If you’ve seen the Bravo network’s TV series ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ and thought the name Jim Bellino sounded familiar, you’re not dreaming.
Bellino was prominently featured in writer Kevin Nelson’s book Operation Bullpen, which chronicled the massive fake autograph scheme of the 1990s.
While Bellino wasn’t hit with the kind of penalties the Marino family and their associates faced when government agents swooped in, he was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. His company, Forensic Document Services, was one of the targets of the FBI’s investigation.
Federal agents were convinced Bellino was involved in the sale of forged sports memorabilia, including baseballs purportedly bearing Babe Ruth’s autograph. Prosecution was deferred, and Bellino was able to avoid jail time. He was asked to pay restitution, went on probation for a year and was prohibited from ever being involved in the sports memorabilia business.
Now, he’s married to one of the women on one of the newer reality shows on TV. The charges against him in Operation Bullpen have surfaced on Hollywood and celebrity-focused websites over the last couple of months, according to Nelson, who recalls Bellino vs the FBI in this article.