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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Man Sentenced to Prison for Selling Counterfeit Baseball Cards, Including Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle Fakes

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to nearly three years in prison for selling counterfeit baseball cards of Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth and others on eBay, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Steven Norris, 39, of Milton, Penn., was sentenced to 32 months in prison after pleading guilty earlier this year to three counts of mail fraud. Norris was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $49,660.

Norris’ brother and co-defendant, Scott Norris, 40, of Brecksville, was previously sentenced to four years of probation for his role in the offense 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 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 court documents.

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 court documents.

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 court documents.

As a result of the scheme, individual bidders and PayPal suffered losses of approximately $60,310, according to court documents.

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.

Updated March 18, 2015