An Arkansas man has admitted to helping disgraced former sports memorabilia dealer and photo archivist John Rogers commit fraud.
John Alexander McLean, 59, of Little Rock, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in a federal courtroom there Wednesday. He says that from about June 2016 until November 2017, he helped Rogers make up stories about the fake memorabilia they were offering to potential buyers.
Rogers pleaded guilty in March of 2017 to defrauding banks and investors out of nearly $25 million. In December of that year, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $23 million in restitution to his victims. Even after realizing he was under investigation for fraud, prosecutors say Rogers and acquaintances were still creating and selling phony items. The case is the largest fraud scheme that FBI agent Brian Brusokas says he’s ever investigated.
In McLean’s plea agreement, he admitted to fabricating stories about his father acquiring some of the memorabilia from well-known football coaches. The fake items McLean and Rogers were pushing included footballs they said were used in Super Bowl I, trophies, travel trunks, numerous autographed items, photographs, at least two briefcases they said had been used by John F. Kennedy, at least 21 University of Alabama footballs and other memorabilia associated with pro and college athletes, movie memorabilia and even one of famous baseball photographer Charles Conlon’s old cameras.
Nine people lost a total of over $209,000 as a result of McLean’s actions, according to federal prosecutors. His list of nine victims includes collectors and sports memorabilia dealers.
He’ll be sentenced at a later date.
McLean is the second Rogers associate to have been snared by the feds in connection to the Rogers case. Amber Michelle Davis of Little Rock pleaded guilty last month to wire fraud for her role in helping create and sell over two dozen phony items to unsuspecting buyers, resulting in a loss of over $60,000. Some of the money that McLean made from selling the forged items for Rogers was sent to a bank account Davis created at Rogers’ direction including a $9,000 payment from Paragon Auctions. A sentencing hearing for Davis is scheduled for next March.