A grand jury has indicted a Florida man on four counts related to selling phony autographs with his own certificates of authenticity at last summer’s National Sports Collectors Convention.
The prosecutor’s office in Cuyahoga County, OH tells Sports Collectors Daily that Tony Podsada, who operated Signed Certified Memories, is facing charges of forgery, trademark counterfeiting, criminal stimulation and petty theft. The trademark countering charge is a felony under Ohio law and relates to Podsada himself authenticating the phony material, according to Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor Brent Kirvel.
Law enforcement officers raided Podsada’s booth not long after the NSCC doors opened on August 1, carting away stacks of boxes and photo frames carrying signatures that collectors and other dealers believed were not real. Podsada was selling items well below typical market value and authentication company experts who saw some of the material immediately dismissed them as non-genuine. We’ve learned those items are still being held as evidence by Cleveland Police.
What appears to be an undercover video taken at the National and released later by Cleveland Police shows Podsada saying “All of these autographs are authentic. But I don’t sell ‘em as authentic. I sell them as decorative items.”
Court papers state that Steven Lane, a collector from Louisiana who was attending the show, purchased an item from Podsada and attempted to have it authenticated by an expert from one of the companies at the show but was told it was not genuine.
Podsada is scheduled to answer the charges in Cleveland next week, but it’s not yet known whether he’ll appear or be represented by an attorney.
It’s not his first brush with the law. In 2003, he pleaded guilty to federal charges in New Jersey for over $300,000 in unpaid taxes from the sale of what’s described in federal court papers as “autographed sports memorabilia” during the 1990s. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison with three years of supervised release.
Kirvel says Podsada once sold items out of a south Florida flea market but no longer rents space there.