For those of you that remember, I used to expose "The Auto Scouts" forgery eBay accounts all the time.
"The Auto Scouts" were a forgery ring who sold cheap forgeries of every "star" imaginable. Every single day a new eBay ID would pop up selling their crap. They would constantly change their homemade bogus "COA"s, and try to stay "one step ahead of us" on AML. Originally the majority of their eBay accounts were based in Ohio. Eventually they got slightly smarter and changed the locations
My man Tony came across this article today out of Ohio and sent it my way, telling me "The Auto Scouts" have been busted!
"$2 million Ebay sports autograph fraud uncovered in the Valley"
4 clowns who have scammed over 25,000 people on eBay, profiting over $2 MILLION. Just as I said all along, it was INSANE what these crooks were getting away with. It looks like we indeed did make a difference in this hobby by exposing these clowns.
I guess "crime" does pay.
With Ebay so heavily-populated with delusional autograph collectors, it's no surprise at the amount of money spent on forgeries every day on Ebay!!!!
Well Done Ryan and thanks for posting.
its a uphill battle but we must keep pushing and trying to stop these people from ruining the hobby/business we all love.
What a joke. Why on earth would anybody sell drugs?
Get a box of sharpies, a good ink jet printer and open an eBay account.
Busted making $2M as a drug trafficker? 10 years in a cell with a dude who wants to sell you for a pop-tart.
Busted making $2M selling forgeries on eBay? some ankle jewelry and six months to catch up on Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad episodes you missed.
You nailed it TradeGeek.
Use a gun and grab a few hundred bucks out of a cash register and you are going away for serious time.
Use a pen and steal hundreds of thousand$ and get a slap on the wrist.
Easy cash with low risk. Very tempting to the weak-willed and morally-challenged.
Its really really disgusting when you think about it.
Update on this - the ring leader is now sentenced.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -
A former Austintown man who prosecutors say was the mastermind of the biggest case of domestic fraud in the history of the online auction site eBay has been sentenced to six years in prison.
Clifton Panezich, 31, was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty last year to charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, aggravated theft, three counts of forgery, telecommunications fraud, identity fraud, and money laundering.
Panezich is one of three men from the Mahoning Valley who were named in a 22 count indictment after rejecting plea deals in the case.
Prosecutors say the individuals obtained footballs, posters, sports cards and other sports memorabilia that had been forged with the names of professional athletes, then sold them as genuine articles on eBay.
Also sentenced on Tuesday was Daniel Martini of Girard, who operated the former Martini Burger Bar.
Martini, 30, who pleaded guilty in September to money laundering was ordered to perform community service and placed on probation.
According to investigators, Martini allowed Panezich to use his Ebay account after Panezich had reached the limit on the number of online transactions he could conduct.
Investigators also claimed that Girard resident, Craig McCormick and Jason Moore of West Farmington were part of a scheme involving phony autographs on sports memorabilia that cheated 25,000 people out of more than $2-million.
Moore pleaded guilty to charges similar to those filed against Panezich and was sentenced last week to three years in prison.
McCormick entered a plea in the case and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 25.
Panezich's mother, 62-year-old Rose Mary Panezich, and five other men pleaded guilty earlier to charges for their parts in the scheme.
Investigators say that certificates of authenticity were also forged to accompany the memorabilia, which would be sold on eBay.
The money made from the sales was allegedly laundered through bank accounts belonging to other people.
Panezich's mother is being permitted to serve her probation and one year electronically monitored house arrest at her Henderson, Nevada home, where both she and her son had moved before they were charged.
His mom was involved? Just when you think he couldn't get any more pathetic.
Great update, Wascher!!! Thank you.
"Operation Stolen Base"
Thanks, Ryan. That's a great story. Most of all, thank you for protecting so many collectors by calling these forgeries out from the beginning here.
Among others pictured, the Ruth is terrible.
They should have listened to you much sooner and maybe saved victims a lot of money.