In November of 2010, Mike Ornstein, former agent to Reggie Bush and a friend of New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, was sentenced to eight months in jail for selling scalped Super Bowl tickets and pimping phony game-worn NFL jerseys complete with fakes certificates of authenticity. Now, he’s at the center of the Saints’ current bounty program troubles. CBS’ Mike Freeman reported that Ornstein put up some of those bounties–incentive money for the Saints defensive players to hurt opposing players.
Freeman reported that Ornstein offered Saints’ players $10,000 to get an opposing quarterback knocked out of a game in 2009 and created illegal bonuses on at least two other occasions. Reportedly, he spelled out his concepts in an email to Payton. The NFL is livid and the Saints could be in for some major penalties since defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has already expressed remorse.
During his sentencing, Ornstein claimed the fake gamers he sold to at least one sports card maker during the last decade never made it into product, but that contradicted the bill of information to which he had pleaded guilty. Ornstein was also accused of arranging for fake game worn jerseys to be consigned to an auction company for online sale during the 2002 season.
Ornstein began serving his sentence about a year ago and it’s interesting that federal prosecutors agreed to a lighter sentence on the fake jersey/Super Bowl ticket schemes in 2010 in return for “cooperation” from Ornstein as the investigation into those issues continued.
Is it possible he provided information to law enforcement agents that’s proven valuable in the recent arrests of several sports memorabilia dealers and that he may have also revealed information for ‘bounty gate’ as part of a deal with the feds? We have no hard evidence to indicate that but it does make you wonder considering the time frames involved in all of the cases seem somehow connected.
Deadspin.com chronicles Ornstein’s checkered past.
And that fake jersey concept is another thing that really hacks the NFL off. They raided three sports memorabilia and apparel shops in Massachusetts Monday over the sale of counterfeit goods.