Brecksville man and his brother indicted scheme involving sale of counterfeit baseball cards
A Brecksville man and his brother were indicted for operating a scheme to defraud people who believed they were bidding on rare and collectable baseball cards on eBay including Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle cards, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Steven Norris, age 38, of Brecksville, Ohio, and his brother, Scott Norris, age 40, of Milton, Penn., are named in the nine-count indictment. The charges include mail fraud and wire fraud.
“The charges allege that the defendants made tens of thousands of dollars in fraud proceeds using the great legends of baseball as trade bait,” Dettelbach said. “Now it is the defendants who are hooked. The Secret Service did a tremendous job putting this case together.”
Beginning in 2006 through 2012, Steven and Scott Norris advertised various baseball cards for sale on eBay. They utilized numerous email addresses to list the cards for sale. The cards, if genuine, would have been rare and valuable, including 1952 Mickey Mantle cards and 1933 Babe Ruth cards, according to the indictment.
The Norris’ accepted payments from bidders but failed to deliver the cards as required. In some instances, Steven and Scott Norris sent counterfeit or “reprinted” cards to successful bidders rather than the genuine cards advertised for sale, according to the indictment.
In other instances, Steven and Scott Norris contacted individuals who bid on the cards, represented the high bidder was unable to complete the transaction, and asked if the “runner up” bidder was 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. After receiving payment, Steven and Scott Norris would fail to deliver the items in question or sent counterfeit or “reprinted” baseball cards to the buyers, according to the indictment
As a result of the scheme, individual bidders and PayPal suffered losses totaling approximately $60,310, according to the indictment.
The indictment charges that in furtherance of the scheme, the defendants mailed or caused certain items to be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service and transmitted or caused the transmission of certain interstate wire communications.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert W. Kern following an investigation by the United States Secret Service.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal records, if any, the defendants’ role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.