The FBI continued its investigation into some elements of the hobby at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Service were among the guests at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.
The Bureau made headlines last year when agents showed up in Chicago, grilling dealers and authentication companies about fraud in the hobby and issuing subpoenas. It wasn’t a secret they would be back in 2009.
In between, Sports Collectors Daily has learned that agents have spent hours investigating a number of different transactions that have been reported to have involved fraud and are asking those interviewed to name names. They have also requested bidding records from some auction houses. Just because dealers are interviewed doesn’t mean they’re targets of the investigation, however.
Agents have also chatted with owners of popular online forums and numerous collectors as they continue to seek information.
No charges have been filed thus far in an investigation that has been going on at some level since at least 2007. It’s believed to be the first major investigation by the Bureau since Operation Bullpen in the late 1990s but the latest search for evidence could reach into many different areas of the hobby, not just the fake autograph trade which was the bulk of Bullpen.
Also in attendance this week at the National was New York Daily News investigative reporter Michael O’Keeffe who filed the latest in his series of reports on Sunday.