A Clovis, CA man who forfeited a $31,000 baseball card collection and more than $700,000 cash to federal investigators during a real estate fraud investigation has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Fresno says Seth Adam Depiano, 37, formerly of Clovis, operated a Ponzi scheme that lured real estate investors to give money to Depiano and the businesses he controlled.
Prosecutors say Depiano fraudulently promised investors that he would use their money to purchase residential properties and either manage the properties for rental income or arrange for them to be renovated and resold. In many cases, Depiano promoted the properties to investors with documents that falsely represented high occupancy rates. Depiano oftentimes had no authority to purchase or sell the properties and misled investors with fraudulent documents misrepresenting the properties’ ownership. Some of the properties Depiano marketed to investors did not even exist.
Depiano frequently used the investors’ money to pay his personal expenses, fund his gambling activities, and finance the settlement of the investors’ civil lawsuits against him. He also paid investors purported rental income that, in fact, was money other investors gave to Depiano for investment purposes.
Depiano admitted to defrauding investors of approximately $24 million and was ordered by the court to pay restitution to investors of more than $19.6 million.
The FBI seized 933 cards from Depiano in September of last year, two months after he was arrested. An inventory of what was in the collection wasn’t revealed. Seized collectibles and other property are often sold through U.S. Marshals Service auctions.
One of baseball’s top stars will be signing autographs at the National Sports Collectors Convention this summer.
TriStar Productions says Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor will be in the autograph pavilion for a one-time appearance on Thursday, August 2. The exact time and cost haven’t been set as of yet.
Over 40 former athletes are slated to appear on Thursday alone. The show runs August 1-5.
Mile High Card Company’s June auction will be offering several valuable signed baseballs in its upcoming auction. Set to open June 4, the auction will include single-signed Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb (dated 1925); Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker and Connie Mack specimens.
The Mathewson ball is among the finest ever offered, according to the company. The steel-tip fountain pen signature includes a “yours truly” inscription on the side panel. The Official National League Spalding stamp places it somewhere in the 1915-1924 time range as identified by the markings; the twilight years of Mathewson’s storied career.
Cobb’s name is written on an official OAL (Johnson) stamp and accompanied by the date of June 24, 1925. The Johnson ball bears a Reach stamp and originates between 1918 and 1924, the latter being when Johnson won his third and final pitcher’s Triple Crown.
All three items, along with the Speaker and Mack signed balls, are double authenticated.
They’re now the Washington Nationals, but the Montreal Expos live on in the heart of Steve Whitzman.
The retired school psychologist from New Brunswick has over 20,000 different Expos cards in his collection, one that includes rare error cards and regional issues. It’s been a labor of love for many years and everything is neatly organized.
He’s 68 now and moving to Toronto so the collection is being put up for sale with the help of his daughter. He talked about it with CanadianBaseballNetwork.com.