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The memorabilia market boosts the economy by an estimated $1 billion a year. Baseball trading cards, autographed baseballs, autographs of famous historical figures all can be sold for large sums of money.
How much will a collector, or even just John Doe of 123 Main Street, Anytown, USA, pay for a baseball signed by the great Babe Ruth? How about a card signed by Mother Teresa? These items fetch enough money to be a magnet for crooked counterfeiters who hope to cash in on some big bucks.
Federal Agents, in an operation dubbed Operation Bullpen, seized an estimated $10 million worth of forgeries and another $1 million in assets including a sports car, a pleasure craft, a motorcycle and two homes.
Angelo Marino, his wife Gloria Marino, their two sons, John and Greg, and Greg’s wife, Kathleen, have been arrested and charged along with 20 others. All are from Southern California and charges included conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax evasion. The US Attorney’s office expects many others to be arrested in the immediate future.
Now the FBI is left to figure out what to do with the 10,000 baseballs seized in the operation. Catch, anybody?
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