MANHATTAN (CN) – A sports memorabilia dealer was arrested at a collector’s convention Thursday and charged with selling fraudulent stuff. Steven Jensen, CEO of Vintage Sports Authentics, sold baseball uniforms as “game used” by big stars, and when customers detected the frauds and demanded refunds, Jensen resold the phony stuff, federal prosecutors said.
Jensen, 40, of Osseo, Minn., was arrested at a collector’s convention in Rosemont, Ill. He is charged with mail fraud and wire fraud, each of which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Jensen’s company is based in Plymouth, Minn. Prosecutors say he sold “purportedly ‘game used’ jerseys of several Major League Baseball players, including Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, and Albert Pujols,” though he “knew the jerseys he sold were not genuine and authentic sports memorabilia articles. Furthermore, after customers independently determined that the jerseys were fake, returned them and requested refunds, Jensen re-auctioned the same jerseys, again misrepresenting that the items were genuine and authentic sports memorabilia.”
For example, Jensen got more than $3,000 for a bogus “game used” uniform he said Alex Rodriguez had worn, and when the customer determined it was fake, Jensen resold it though his company’s online auction, prosecutors said.