Mayo Gilbert McNeil has been charged with counterfeiting sports tickets
An elderly Colorado man is facing federal wire fraud charges for his alleged role in a scheme that included counterfeit Michael Jordan trading cards and defrauded collectors of more than $800,000.
Mayo Gilbert McNeil, 82, was arrested in Denver on Wednesday, the Justice Department said in a news release. He is accused of being part of a conspiracy to pass off fraudulent sports cards as genuine by mimicking the rating system and shipping methods of an established sporting goods company.
According to the probable cause affidavit, McNeil targeted at least two sports card collectors: one in New York, identified only as “Victim-1,” and one in Michigan, identified as “Victim-2.” The affidavit also details the involvement of “Company-1,” described as a “third-party authentication and grading service for collectibles,” including sports cards.
The company, the affidavit states, assigns a numerical grade of one to ten to one point, with one being the lowest score. This grade reflects the card’s “comparative value among collectors,” according to the affidavit. After assigning a grade, Company-1 “seals the card in a distinctive, tamper-evident plastic case that encloses the card to preserve its condition and states its grade on an attached label.”
Investigators say that from approximately April 2015 to July 2019, McNeil and others “agreed and carried out a plan to enrich themselves” by falsely claiming that the sports trading cards they were selling or offering for sale , were authentic and had “reached a certain level”. from Company-1.” McNeil and his co-conspirators allegedly passed off the counterfeit cards as genuine, using genuine tamper-evident sleeves “obtained” from Company-1, along with Company-1 logos and rating labels.
According to investigators, they “communicated extensively via email” to carry out the program.
“How’s the new Holder project going anyway?” McNeil reportedly wrote on August 24, 2015 a co-conspirator identified only as co-conspirator-1.
This co-conspirator apparently wrote to McNeil in November 2015 that he and another person “[i]Be in January [sic] Travel across the US with maps in the new sleeves.”
Co-conspirator-1 reportedly told McNeil at the time that he would “make $5,000 on any deal.”
In May 2016, McNeil wrote an email to fellow conspirators-1 that now seems eerily prescient.
“[S]Give me the money or a card to sell,” he reportedly wrote. “I’m sure you’re still in business, but I am [sic] You’re not using me because you’re afraid I’ll be investigated. That’s cool, just send me something to sell to make up for it.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, McNeil appears to have obtained a forged ID from co-conspirator-1 after a Las Vegas sports card store discovered that two baseball cards McNeil had sold were later found to be counterfeit by Company-1.
“Throughout the conspiracy, the defendant used a variety of email accounts to disguise his identity,” the affidavit reads.
Although investigators appear to believe there are many more victims, the affidavit lists only two of them, “simply establishing those facts necessary to establish a probable cause.”
In the summer of 2019, Victim-1 first met McNeil through an online auction site. The victim was interested in buying two Michael Jordan trading cards from McNeil, who had claimed that Company-1 had ranked them 10th out of 10. He received $4,500 via wire transfer, McNeil sent the cards – which later became Company -1 were found to be counterfeit – to Victim-1 in Manhasset, New York.
Victim-2 was targeted in 2017, according to the affidavit. Following a successful transaction between them in February of this year, McNeil reached out to Victim-2 in June and asked if the victim was “interested in someone else.” [Michael] Jordan” which was rated 10 by Company-1. Instead of a sale, this victim proposed a trade, and in October, the victim traded two of soccer star Tom Brady’s sports cards for two of McNeil’s Michael Jordan cards. The cards were sent and received by post.
Company-1 again found that the cards sent by McNeill were not authentic.
McNeil faces charges of conspiracy to wire fraud, which carries a possible 20-year prison sentence and fines.
Investigators point out that the conspiracy extended well beyond the two victims identified in the affidavit.
“The transactions between the accused [and victims] are only a representative set of fraudulent sports card transactions involving the defendant and his co-conspirators,” the affidavit reads. “The investigation has determined that as a result of the defendant’s scheme, he and his co-conspirators received approximately $808,500 in cash or physical sports cards from their victims.”
The DOJ requested that all documents supporting the affidavit remain sealed because they discuss an “ongoing criminal investigation not known to the public nor to the targets and subjects of the investigation.”
McNeil is scheduled to be charged in New York at a later date, the DOJ press release said.
A spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office told Law&Crime that no further arrests had been made.
Read the complaint here.
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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/elderly-man-used-fake-michael-jordan-sports-trading-cards-in-scheme-to-steal-over-800k-feds/ Mayo Gilbert McNeil has been charged with counterfeiting sports tickets