A Pennsylvania man is headed to federal prison and both he and his brother will pay thousands in restitution for selling fake vintage baseball cards.
As we reported last winter, Steven Norris, 39, of Milton, Penn., and his brother Scott, were indicted on mail fraud charges for offering historic vintage baseball cards to bidders on eBay, then either not delivering the advertised cards or sending counterfeit cards.
Scott Norris, 40, of Brecksville, OH, has already sentenced to four years of probation for his role in the scam and was ordered to pay restitution of $28,160.
“These defendants used the legends of America’s pastime to fraudulently get tens of thousands of dollars,” Dettelbach said. “This prison sentence should send a message to would-be fraudsters, whether they use baseball cards or elaborate investment schemes to rip off the public.”
From 2006 through early 2012, Steven and Scott Norris advertised various older, graded baseball cards for sale on eBay including 1952 Mickey Mantle and 1933 Babe Ruth cards. Another buyer purchased what was advertised as 16 different cards for $10,000.
The brothers were known to contact bidders in their auctions, tell them the winning bidder was unable to complete the transaction, and ask if they were interested in buying the item. They would then negotiate a sales price and direct the buyer to mail a cashier’s check to an address in Brecksville owned by the defendants’ parents. Court documents indicate the brothers accepted installment payments for one of the “Mantle cards”, taking in separate payments over a period of time. After receiving the checks, Steven and Scott Norris would fail to deliver the items in question or send bogus replacements, according to court documents.
The brothers avoided trouble initially by using different email addresses, according to federal prosecutors.
As a result of the scheme, individual bidders and PayPal suffered losses of approximately $60,310.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert W. Kern following an investigation by the United States Secret Service and the Brecksville Police Department.