By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor
Sports auction house executives Bill Mastro and Doug Allen were indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago on Wednesday on charges of fraud for allegations that include auction manipulation and, in the case of Mastro, altering one of the hobby’s most-famous baseball cards, the PSA 8 T206 Honus Wagner that has sold for $2.8 million.
Mastro, the founder of defunct Mastro Auctions which closed in 2009, faces one count of mail fraud. Allen, who was the president of Mastro before it closed and is now president of Legendary Auctions, faces 14 counts. Another former Mastro executive now with Legendary, Mark Theotikos, faces six. According to a New York Daily News report, the maximum penalty for the charges is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
The allegations on the Wagner card are not new as they were documented in The Card, a 2008 book written by the Daily News’ Michael O’Keeffe and Teri Thompson. In it, Bill Hughes, a member of the PSA team that graded the card, admitting he knew the card had been altered.
“The card is so outstanding,” he said, “it would have been sacrilegious to call that card trimmed and completely devalue it.”
For more on the case, read the Daily News story by clicking here.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.