There were no arrests made, but law enforcement was present at the National Sports Collectors Convention this year.
Sports Collectors Daily has learned that multiple FBI agents were at the Stephens Convention Center during the week and that several hobby businesses received subpoenas seeking sales lists, customer records and other material. The effort appears tied to an industry probe of transactions, including those involving altered trading cards.
The FBI is no stranger to the hobby’s biggest event. At least one agent has usually attended in recent years, speaking with dealers and auction houses on various matters of interest. Some of those visits have led to arrests.
A small group of collectors on the Blowout Cards message board had identified numerous modern and vintage cards that appear to have been purchased, altered and then re-sold at a large profit. The group has identified several people who appear to have purchased and sold cards that were trimmed, re-colored or otherwise doctored and managed to slip them past authenticators.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman confirmed last month that a federal investigation was underway and that he was representing PWCC Marketplace in connection with the case. PWCC and others highlighted by the group of forum sleuths had booths at the Stephens Convention Center.
No arrests have been made in the case thus far.
PWCC and at least two authentication companies are known to have turned over numerous cards to federal investigators that are suspected of having been “doctored.” Collectors who own any cards highlighted in forum threads are being offered refunds by PWCC, which has been forwarding the returned cards to the FBI and is cooperating with investigators’ requests.
Agents have also been gathering information from those authentication and grading firms over the past several weeks. PSA has stated it was conducting its own investigation.
Over the past dozen years, the bureau’s Chicago office has been spearheading most of the federal law enforcement efforts to crack down on fraud in the industry, acting on tips from collectors.
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