U.S. officials prosecuted one seller of counterfeit trading cards, but stopping the flow is more challenging.
A Pennsylvania dealer who admitted selling counterfeit sports cards could be facing no worse than probation, but the source of those fakes isn’t likely to see jail at all.
Jamie Nucero of Marshals Creek, PA, was arrested last spring after federal investigators received complaints from two collectors who say they purchased bogus rookie cards of Mario LeMieux and Patrick Roy on eBay. A search of Nucero’s home led them to a stash of about 11,000 more cards that were not manufactured by a licensed sports card company. He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Tuesday and will be sentenced in mid-November.
On Wednesday, U.S. attorney Wayne Samuelson told Sports Collectors Daily that the government recommended no jail time for Nucero because the dollar value of the cards involved wasn’t high and Nucero was cooperative with investigators.
It wasn’t strictly a counterfeit selling operation, according to Samuelson. "He was selling legitimate cards as well. The counterfeit cards were sprinkled in with his other sales. They were not being advertised as reprints."
Nucero is not being held and a judge in the case is permitting him to continue his sports card business. Samuelson said the counterfeit cards will be destroyed.
While investigators attempt to find out if any other collectors may have purchased counterfeit cards from Nucero, the source of the material may be more difficult to prosecute.
The cards originated in Canada and while U.S. investigators have contacted authorities there, Samuelson said Canadian law apparently makes it difficult to arrest first-time offenders regarding copyright issues. Warnings come before arrests.
"They first have to tell the person it isn’t legal and to stop doing it. Then if they do it again, they can be prosecuted. They indicated to us there was very little they could do in this case."