82-Year-Old Facing Jail For Fake Basketball Cards

by Ana Lopez

Denver, Colorado resident Mayo Gilbert McNeil is 82 years old and could face a prison sentence of up to 100 years if convicted of committing a sports memorabilia scam that netted him $800,000.

Through Insidera Ministry of Justice complaint to McNeil outlines an alleged scam involving a fictitious identity and forged NBA pros—e.g., Michael Jordan—basketball cards. Police arrested McNeil on Wednesday, alleging that for four years between 2015 and 2019, he and a co-conspirator traded online using fake IDs and burner email accounts.

Federal authorities believe McNeil made his counterfeits convincing by obtaining plastic containers and specialized sorting labels from a well-known collector authentication company. He then created the false cards. An example cited in the complaint: a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card with a fake “10 out of 10” grade that he sold for $4,500. McNeil also allegedly counterfeited a few prized Tom Brady cards.

In a rack United States Attorney Breon Peace said Wednesday that McNeil “orchestrated a years-long and far-reaching scheme to defraud sports card enthusiasts and the sports memorabilia industry. Our office is committed to cracking down on counterfeiting at all levels of the marketplace .”

Michael J. Driscoll, Deputy Director of the FBI, added: “Mr. McNeil defrauded sports memorabilia collectors out of more than $800,000 by deliberately misrepresenting the authenticity of the trading cards he was peddling, when in fact they were false. The FBI remains committed to investigating fraud at all levels and bringing those involved to justice.”

McNeil is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and if convicted, he could indeed serve the rest of his life in prison.

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