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Three memorabilia dealers plead guilty to mail fraud in sales of fake game-used jerseys

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The New York Daily News reported on Monday night that three sports memorabilia dealers pleaded guilty to mail fraud on Monday as part of a long-running investigation conducted by the FBI and other federal agencies.

The three dealers were Bernard Gernay of Howell, N.J., Bradley Horne of Sunset, S.C., and Jarrod Oldridge of Las Vegas, who, according to the story “acknowledged that they altered jerseys obtained from retail outlets and other sources to make them appear to be used in games by pro athletes.”

Oldridge is the owner of JO Sports Co., a company with deals in place with 14 NFL teams to sell game-used memorabilia. Gernay is the owner of Pro Sports Investments, while Horne is the owner of Authentic Sports Memorabilia Inc.

According to the report, each has entered plea agreements to cooperate with investigators and testify as witnesses in other sports memorabila fraud cases.

While no trading card companies were named in the Daily News report, the story indicated that the jerseys had been sold to the public as well as card companies to be cut up and placed into game-used memorabilia cards.

Typically, trading card licensors allow game-used equipment to be purchased only from authorized dealers and it is unclear at this time which card companies may have purchased from the dealers.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

15 Comments

larry

It was probably Upper Deck. They are always involved in shady dealings. Maybe now card companies will stop mass producing this junk in their cards.

Posted November 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
Nick Tegeler

I guess with the mass production of these types of cards none of us collectors should be surprised that this has came out in some fashion. That’s why I have only bought mostly boxes and not relied on putting big money in a single mem card. I rely on the card companies that they are backing their product as being legit. So shame on the ones that are not being more aware of what they are buying and who they are buying from. I have also seen where many people have been faking regular jersey cards and putting part of a patch over them to pass them off as “prime”. I can only imagine what kind of repercussions this will have over time as more information comes out. If the current card companies are implicated, I can see them losing their licensing from the leagues and even players associations. I also have to wonder about whats going to happen to the value of all these cards and how this will effect the dealers who sell them and rely on the current value to make a profit and/or get their money back on the secondary market. This also really stinks for the guys who have paid good money for cards of players they collect and are now sitting there wondering whats real and whats not. I think the hobby will make it through this storm just like it did back in the day when people were faking cards. I think if these card companies end up staying in business after the pile of lawsuits and backlash from this, it constitutes a major change in the guarantee of mem cards and even the autographs. The scary thing is, there are obviously going to be more who are doing the same thing because that is why they have taken a plea agreement to expose others. Who really knows how bad it really is just yet. Keep us posted!

Posted November 21, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
Newton

dr. brian price gets alot of his “memorabilia” from some of those companies. uh oh spaghetti o’s

Posted November 22, 2011 at 6:10 am | Permalink

IF THE CARD COMPANIES BOUGHT FAKES, I believe we will find it was a VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE of what ended up in product. As the story reads, “Oldridge is the owner of JO Sports Co, a company with deals in place with 14 NFL Teams to sell game used memorabilia.” This indicates much of the stuff was good. However, he used the fact that he had “good stuff” to push fakes.

IF the CARD COMPANIES DID BUY FAKES, once those fakes are identified, it would be GOOD PR for those companies to do a recall on the fakes and replace them with good stuff. Or, the card company could do a recall and issue a credit voucher ($10, $15, $20) good for their product (unopen boxes, packs or other) which the collector could use at the company on-line store.

Posted November 22, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink
bob

Here is a comment from Dr. Price from another Blog when the arrests were originally made:

To Our Collectors

Although none of the names look familiar to me, we are researching our purchases during the time period.

Typically, we don’t buy hockey jerseys from these types of individuals or companies.

We source jerseys from legitimate sources and have our own authenticator who has years and years of experience including working for the Hall of Fame.

Can someone get fooled, I guess, nobody is perfect.

We got fooled once accepting a COA from the NHLPA for a goalie jersey that was supposed to be game-worn but was game-issued, but we found our mistake and redeemed the single card made. I still have the jersey with one piece cut out of it.

I doubt if the other manufacturers will come on the boards to discuss this point, but I welcome them too. We have been making game-used hockey memorabilia cards since 1998 and take our game-used jerseys very seriously.

I have been a collector of hockey jerseys for over 20 years, am I an expert, no but I know enough to have experts around me.

Most of these individuals and companies dealt in baseball and football and as I mentioned earlier, don’t look familiar to me.

To take the actions of a few criminals and paint it all over the legitimate hobby is not fair.

The state that photo-shoot jerseys are better collectables than game-worn is pure non-sense.

Again, these are my opinions and I am sure others have theirs.

Anyone who has been to our offices can attest to the fact that we take the term “game-worn” very, very, very seriously.

Brian Price

Posted November 22, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink
graham

Just what the card companies need, another controversy.

Topps pushed the envelope on game used mem with the ruth and gehrig cards which we thought were pieces of bat but were bleacher seat wood slices.

Now the jersey cards could be fake?

The rookie cards are already worth crap since they put on 20 jerseys at THE SAME TIME and market them as “event” worn.

It has come to point if it is not an on card auto AND “legible” it is not worth the price of one pack of cards.

Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

I think I might just be done with memorabilia cards now.

Posted November 23, 2011 at 4:36 am | Permalink
XstreamINsanity

I’ve never really put that much value in jersey cards. When jersey cards started coming out with numbering of 999 and many other parallels to boot and that’s in just one product, it started to concern me. Did they really use so and so’s jersey, or did they borrow a few pieces from a fat player because he has a bigger jersey? lol. Ideally, I wish manufacturers would put a small barcode or serial number (other than the print run) on the back of the card so that we can look on their site to see what jersey it came from, if it was game worn, event worn, etc., and find out where the jersey was obtained from. It’s called checks and balances. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, there is not one governing body to perform these checks and balances until someone reports something and then the FBI gets involved. There has to be a way to keep the companies from scamming us.

Posted November 23, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink
XstreamINsanity

Typo fix: “memorabilia dealers pleased guilty to mail fraud” should be “memorabilia dealers pleaded guilty to mail fraud”. :)

Posted November 23, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink
tolentinotown

Good catch.

Posted November 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
LivingDedMan

Dirty thieves. These bums make me sick.

Posted November 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink
nordique1976

I purchased a high end football jersey from JO Sports earlier this year. I called the company to see if they knew how I could secure a game worn jersey from a specific player (the company did not have an agreement with the NFL team at that time). A week later, I get a call that they found the jersey from the equipment manager. Red flags…and my gut tells me not to buy it. But I call another jersey dealer and he says JO Sports is legit. I check their web site and they have agreements with 14 NFL teams (plus, they used to have a deal with the team I am purchasing the jersey from). I purchase the jersey.

Now, I have a very expensive jersey and many questions about authenticity. I have spent tens of thousands on game used jerseys and sports cards. I love my collection…I am a collector, not a dealer. But how can I enjoy my collection when I have so many question marks. Part of me wants to unload everything I have with the exception of a couple of high end cards.

I have also purchased items from major auction houses, like HA, and had serious questions about authenticity once they arrived. Getting screwed by auction houses and companies with agreements with NFL teams really sucks…it makes you feel that the whole hobby is corrupted.

I know some would say, “Do your homework.” I didn’t pull these off of eBay. These are supposed to be reputable companies…who has time to CSI a jersey.

I can’t wait for these dealers to make plea bargains so we get to the bottom of the corruption.

The other day I purchased a box of 1990 Upper Deck hockey? Why? It brought me back to my early teens when collecting was fun. I’ll never forget opening my first pack of Upper Deck. I felt like I was holding a piece of photographic art. I miss those days.

Posted December 14, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Permalink
Mike

Memorabilia Card Rant

I totally agree that the jersey cards have become so meaningless that it’s sad. Real collectors want real memorabilia. Base cards have become meaningless. I just throw them away to help cut down the supply for those that collect them.

The plain fact back when memorabilia cards were new it was a great thing. But now I’m surprised that long snappers don’t have memorabilia cards. Memorabilia cards should be just like in the name “MEMORABLE”.

Stop producing event or player worn cards, everyone knows it’s just cheap hits that you can mark on the packages and you force the player to wear 20 jerseys so you can say that it was worn.

I want real memorabilia in my cards. I want to say that this card has a little piece of blood and sweat from Tom Brady when he played which ever team this day or that day.
That way I have a connection of seeing the game and holding a piece of it. I would pay huge amounts for real memorabilia like that.

How many of you would love to see a jersey card with some grass stains on it form one of your favorite players form a game that you saw them rush, pass, or catch the game winning TD or break a record?

Now that’s real MEMORABILIA.

Posted December 24, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink
steve arjo

I feel exactly like nordique1976, I love to collect but to be honest with I dont’t know how much of this stuff is just pure crap. I own about 5,000 worth of jerseys from J.O sports and that is a hell of a lot of money for me. Worse they had a contract with the Raiders at the time! When I look at photos of it, I still feel like its legit but who the hell knows? A couple of weeks ago I get a high end catalog from goldin auctions out of vegas. I didn’t order it so I’m sure if i do some research Jarrod oldridge has a part of that Co. I really don’t feel like auction house’s are any better. They really don’t do a hell of a lot of homework and I feel like they are willing to trust players and family members who are probably broke and in need of money. So now All I want is stuff directly from the team. I hope they throw the book at these ********.

Posted November 6, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink
Dodel

I spent a hell of a lot of money to obtain thousands of jersey cards over the past decade under the protected pledge on each card by the manufacturer that they were authentic. I will be pursuing a class action suit against these card companies for product fraud.

Posted November 30, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

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