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Washington Men Arrested in $2 Million Sports Card Fraud

Two Washington state men, Anthony Curcio and Iosif Bondarchuk, are currently facing the repercussions of a deceitful endeavor involving the sale of fake graded sports and Pokémon cards. The grand sum of their fraudulent activities amounted to a staggering $2 million, achieved through duping unsuspecting buyers into purchasing counterfeit items, most notably a Michael Jordan rookie card that turned out to be far from authentic.

Between 2022 and May 2024, Curcio and Bondarchuk meticulously carried out their fraudulent operations, which primarily revolved around the manipulation of card grades. They allegedly engaged in a practice where they replaced lower-grade cards with inferior qualities into cases indicative of PSA 10 specimens, significantly inflating the market value of the items they were peddling.

One of the notable items in their arsenal was a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card, purported to be in gem mint condition, which was deceitfully sold for a whopping $171,000 via an online platform in Manhattan. However, the falsehood was revealed when MySlabs, the selling platform involved, discovered the card’s true nature and promptly notified both PSA and the authorities. Additionally, other misrepresented cards include a 2009 Topps Stephen Curry rookie card and a 1980 Topps card featuring basketball legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Julius Erving.

The nefarious activities of Curcio and Bondarchuk were not restricted to sports cards alone, as they also dabbled in the unscrupulous sale of Pokémon cards. One alarming instance involved the sale of a 1999 first-edition Venusaur card, masquerading as a PSA 10, for $10,500 to an undercover law enforcement officer in Manhattan.

Their fraudulent dealings spanned across various avenues of sale, ranging from card shops to shows and online auctions. Moreover, in cases where buyers raised concerns about the authenticity of their purchases, Bondarchuk reportedly resorted to deceptive tactics, furnishing them with fictitious contact information under the guise of unrelated individuals.

If found guilty, both individuals could potentially face a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars. The collaborative efforts of the FBI and PSA’s Brand Protection division played a pivotal role during the investigation, underscoring the ongoing commitment to safeguard collectors and uphold the integrity of the burgeoning trading card market.

This high-profile case serves as a stark reminder of the imperative need for vigilance within the realm of collectibles. It also stands as a cautionary tale for individuals harboring intentions of engaging in fraudulent practices within the industry, highlighting the severe consequences that await those who dare to deceive others for personal gain.

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