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Md. man pleads guilty to $2.5 million sports memorabilia fraud scheme
A Maryland man who made millions selling counterfeit sports memorabilia pleaded guilty to a $2.5 million fraud scheme, according to a press release.
Joshua Aaron Shores, 41, of Bel Air, Maryland, pleaded guilty to wire fraud for operating Internet businesses between 2008 and 2013, dealing in counterfeit and fraudulent sports memorabilia, according to a news release.
Shores created and registered Amazon.com and PayPal accounts, assigning several accounts to his name and the names of his family and friends — without their knowledge — according to documents. He purchased counterfeit sports jerseys in bulk from China and put fraudulent autographs on them, passing them off as authentic autographs of well-known athletes and sports figures, according to documents. The release states Shores unlawfully obtained around $2.5 million from buyers of the items.
Shores allegedly created fake certificates of authenticity to accompany the items, authorities say.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Shores owned and operated businesses under the names Dealakhan, LLC; Stadium Authentics; Autograph Showcase; Sunset Beach; End Game Sports; Authenticgraph and others in Pennsylvania and Maryland. He operated some of those businesses at an office at 213 Hill St., Glen Rock, among other places, according to documents.
In September 2012, an undercover federal agent in New Jersey purchased a Cliff Lee-autographed Phillies jersey from Stadium Authentics, Shores' website, for $249.99, according to documents. The item was sent to Major League Baseball's authentication department in New York, where a licensed authentication group determined the jersey was counterfeit, documents state.
Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, according to the release.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com.