A California man has been sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine for trying to to sell a 19th century baseball glove for $200,000 that he falsely claimed was owned by Babe Ruth. Scheib was also ordered to refrain from selling any memorabilia while on probation. Scheib pled guilty to one count of wire fraud on June 28, 2012. U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson imposed the sentence.
In addition to probation, Irving Scheib, 50, of Bonsall, California, was ordered to pay a $25,000 fine.
According to the complaint and information filed in Manhattan federal court, as well as statements made during court proceedings, Scheib purchased a 19th century baseball glove on eBay for $750 last January, which was described as an “1890’s Full Web Workman Baseball Mitt.” At the time he bought the glove, Scheib knew that the glove had no connection to Babe Ruth.
Prosecutors say shortly after purchasing the glove on eBay, Scheib set out to resell the glove by fraudulently claiming that it was used by baseball legend Babe Ruth. Among other things, Scheib fraudulently told a sports memorabilia broker in Nevada that the glove was a family heirloom that was obtained directly from Babe Ruth. Specifically, Scheib claimed that the deceased Hollywood actor, Robert Young, to whom Scheib is related by marriage, obtained the glove from Ruth.
Scheib also sent fake documents to the memorabilia dealer corroborating this fabricated provenance, and falsely claimed in a letter that the glove “was gifted to Babe Ruth’s personal friend and Golden Era Star Robert Young in 1944…[and that Ruth] was so affectionate towards this glove that he slept with it under his pillow at the orphanage.”
The fake documents, in turn, were sent to an individual interested in purchasing the glove (the buyer). After paying for the glove, the buyer asked Scheib to notarize one of the letters attesting to the glove’s provenance that was signed by Scheib and purportedly signed by Scheib’s wife, who is Young’s granddaughter. Scheib refused to do so, and the buyer accordingly returned the glove.
Subsequently, Scheib repeated the same fabricated provenance for the alleged Babe Ruth glove over the telephone to someone he believed was another potential buyer in New York. In fact, the buyer was an undercover investigator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.