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Washington State Men Arrested in $2M Sports Card Fraud

Two men from Washington state are now facing serious legal troubles after being charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme involving the fraudulent sale of graded sports and Pokémon cards. Anthony Curcio, 43, from Redmond, and Iosif Bondarchuk, 37, from Lake Stevens, were arrested for their alleged deceptive practices that netted over $2 million from unsuspecting buyers.

The men are accused of engaging in deceitful practices between 2022 and May 2024, where they would purportedly switch lower-grade cards with higher-grade PSA 10 specimens. By misrepresenting the cards in this manner, they were able to significantly inflate the market values, duping buyers in the process.

One of the items sold as part of this scheme was a fake gem mint 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card that was purchased for $171,000 through an online marketplace in Manhattan. The card was later flagged as fake by the selling platform, MySlabs, who then escalated the issue to PSA and law enforcement. Other misrepresented cards included a 2009 Topps rookie card of Stephen Curry and a 1980 Topps card featuring Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Julius Erving.

Not only limited to sports cards, the fraudulent activities also extended to Pokémon cards. For instance, a 1999 first-edition Venusaur card was sold under false pretenses as a PSA 10 to an undercover officer in Manhattan for $10,500.

Curcio and Bondarchuk allegedly tried to sell these deceptive cards through various channels, such as card shops, shows, and online auctions. Whenever buyers raised concerns about the authenticity of their purchases, Bondarchuk reportedly provided false contact information, attributing it to unrelated individuals.

If found guilty, the two men could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The investigation into their activities was a joint effort between the FBI and PSA’s Brand Protection division, demonstrating the commitment to safeguarding collectors and preserving the integrity of the trading card market.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of remaining vigilant in the collectibles market and sends a clear warning to anyone considering engaging in similar fraudulent practices.

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