• Sports collectors duped by bogus memorabilia seller


    PITTSBURGH - Roberto Celemente and Honus Wagner are a couple of sports legends that Pittsburghers are very familiar with.

    But would you be able to pick out their real signature from a fake?

    Three Pennsylvania sports collectors are among dozens across the country who had fallen victim to a con-artist who specialized in sports memorabilia.

    "I consider myself very knowledgeable about what's a real one and a fake one", said Mark Mench.

    He responded to an ad in "Sports Collectors Digest" where a man named Carl Myers had placed an ad selling autographed sports merchandise, including those supposedly signed by Clemente and Wagner.

    Myer sold autographed cards, pictures, and baseballs from his home in Charles Town West Virginia, collecting $74,000 in just a three month period.

    "He knew dealers, he knew the business.  He knew basically everything that I knew about autographs.  And I've collected 30 years", said Mench.

    U.S. Postal Inspectors said most collectors realized they had been scammed as soon as they get their merchandise.

    "Mr. Myer actually threatened a couple of them, if they continued to call him and contact him again," said Postal Inspector Ryan Amstone.

    Myer's biggest mistake was doing his business through the U.S. Mail.

    Local police would have had a hard time building separate cases against Myer, but Postal Inspectors tracked down 56 victims across the country, and combined them into one case.

    Despite that, only 37 were interested in joining the investigation.

    Some of them didn't want to believe they were victims of this scam", said Amstone.

    Myer was found guilty of mail fraud, and sentenced to two years in federal prison.

    "I'm glad that he paid a price because I’m sure he fooled many people besides me", said Mench.

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