Bill Mastro, the former head of what was once the sports memorabilia industry’s most prominent auction house, will be sentenced on fraud charges August 20.
In 2012, Mastro was indicted by a federal grand jury after government prosecutors outlined their case. In October 2013, Mastro pleaded guilty to orchestrating a shill bidding scheme to drive up the prices of certain items during auctions. He also admitted the hobby’s most famous baseball card, a T206 Honus Wagner eventually graded PSA 8, had been trimmed from its original size.
Mastro could face up to five years in prison but has been cooperating in related investigations into the sports memorabilia industry that have conducted by federal agents.
According to court documents, Mastro’s attorneys have been in “good faith discussions” over the actual dollar amount of shill bidding but both sides apparently agree there’s no way to reach a precise figure. Prosecutors believe Mastro’s company was responsible for $400,000 to $1 million but he claims the amount was much less. Nevertheless, in April Mastro waived his right to contest the government’s figure.
Mastro Auctions shut down in 2009, as FBI investigators continued their probe of the business. The company’s former president, Doug Allen, then opened Legendary Auctions, but Allen, too, is facing prison time.