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Robert_Lifson
09-30-2018, 04:00 PM
The American Greed Episode on John Rogers airs tomorrow:

https://www.sportscollectorsdaily.com/john-rogers-american-greed/

I know in a half hour it can only scratch the surface, but I’m looking forward to watching.

John Rogers made few appearances on Net54 but I think this was possibly my favorite Net54 thread of all time due to the banter between Rogers and Jeffrey Lichtman (link below):

http://www.net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=114597

Within the thread, Post #30 may be my favorite single post of all time!

http://www.net54baseball.com/showpost.php?p=739994&postcount=30

boneheadandrube
09-30-2018, 05:03 PM
Even with no skin in the hobby at all during that time I remember that post well. Thanks for finding it, glad the pic is still there.

JollyElm
09-30-2018, 05:10 PM
Can someone shorthand the situation regarding John Rogers (and the old thread referenced here) for us not in the know?

SetBuilder
09-30-2018, 09:51 PM
Can someone shorthand the situation regarding John Rogers (and the old thread referenced here) for us not in the know?

+1

btcarfagno
10-01-2018, 07:50 AM
Cliff's Notes version:

Spent many years (decades?) forging and doctoring sports memorabilia and passing it off as the real thing. Then kept doing it when people got wise to the scheme. Then kept doing it even after a guilty plea. Currently serving 12 year prison sentence last I heard.

slidekellyslide
10-01-2018, 08:54 AM
Cliff's Notes version:

Spent many years (decades?) forging and doctoring sports memorabilia and passing it off as the real thing. Then kept doing it when people got wise to the scheme. Then kept doing it even after a guilty plea. Currently serving 12 year prison sentence last I heard.

He's the guy that Doug Allen tipped off about wearing a wire which gave Doug a longer prison sentence than Bill Mastro.

irv
10-01-2018, 10:08 AM
Very interesting read!!

Although I have been back collecting almost 3 yrs now, it still amazes me when I read about the ugliness in this hobby that I naively didn't think existed. :o

D. Bergin
10-01-2018, 04:12 PM
Cliff's Notes version:

Spent many years (decades?) forging and doctoring sports memorabilia and passing it off as the real thing. Then kept doing it when people got wise to the scheme. Then kept doing it even after a guilty plea. Currently serving 12 year prison sentence last I heard.


I believe there was also an issue with him making huge purchases of legitimate photo archive collections and then not holding up his part of the deal in relation to the rights and financial obligations of those purchases.

Not having seen the show yet, I'm not sure what exactly he got pinched on though.

Bugsy
10-01-2018, 04:47 PM
I believe there was also an issue with him making huge purchases of legitimate photo archive collections and then not holding up his part of the deal in relation to the rights and financial obligations of those purchases.

Not having seen the show yet, I'm not sure what exactly he got pinched on though.

That was him.

Brian Van Horn
10-01-2018, 04:53 PM
Last year, Mastro. This year, Rogers. Nominations for next year's trifecta?

Leon
10-01-2018, 05:13 PM
A longer version....


Collector given 12 years in prison for selling phony sports memorabilia
John Rogers

Arkansas collector John Rogers leaves the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse after pleading guilty in a $23 million sports memorabilia fraud scheme, Monday, March 6, 2017. Rogers was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Dec. 20, 2017. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
Jason MeisnerContact Reporter
Chicago Tribune

Long known as a consummate sweet-talker, Arkansas collector John Rogers tried one last time Wednesday to use his gift for gab.

Facing sentencing in Chicago for a $23 million sports memorabilia fraud scheme, Rogers issued a rambling, 45-minute statement in a federal courtroom asking for leniency and talking about his downward spiral into drug addiction. He apologized tearfully to his teenage son, spoke eloquently about his failed marriage and promised to help return money to his victims.

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“I have no excuse for it — zero excuse,” Rogers told U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin. “I don’t deserve a break, but I’m asking you for one.”

But the judge didn’t buy it. Moments after Rogers wrapped up his remarks, Durkin sentenced him to 12 years in prison, calling the scope of his decadelong fraud scheme “breathtaking.”

“You literally told thousands of lies to honest people to have them part with their money,” Durkin said.

Rogers, 44, pleaded guilty in March to one count of wire fraud, admitting he bilked dozens of victims through various schemes involving sports memorabilia and photo collections.

He had been free on bond pending sentencing, but Durkin ordered him jailed last month after prosecutors said he continued to sell phony sports memorabilia even after pleading guilty, including a bogus Mickey Mantle 1956 Triple Crown batting trophy and a doctored commemorative football from Super Bowl I.

The new allegations also scuttled Rogers’ cooperation deal with prosecutors that could have cut his potential sentence in half. Rogers had spent more than a year wearing a wire for federal authorities in Arkansas in various drug and fraud investigations, leading to the resignation of one government official in Little Rock but no indictments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Owens said.

During the nearly three-hour sentencing hearing, Rogers’ son, John Rogers Jr., sobbed as he told the judge how his father’s crimes have made it difficult to go anywhere in Little Rock without being subjected to ridicule. But despite the embarrassment, he said his dad was “still my hero.”

When it was Rogers’ turn to speak, he turned directly to his son in the courtroom gallery and said he was no hero.

“I’m here to tell you, I want you to raise the bar,” Rogers said.

According to Rogers’ plea agreement, he routinely altered sports memorabilia items to make them appear authentic and used proceeds from the fraud to repay customers who had figured out the items were fakes.

In one instance, Rogers had a trophy company fix a nameplate to a Heisman replica to make it look like it was the authentic 1978 trophy awarded to University of Oklahoma running back Billy Sims, according to court records.

Rogers also created a phony letter, purportedly from Sims, confirming the authenticity of the trophy and sent an email to the investor stating the trophy was valued at up to $225,000, the agreement said.

In 2014, the Tribune detailed in a front-page story how Rogers was being sued in Arkansas over the purchase of the famed archive of Chicago photographer George Brace, who had amassed an astonishing collection of baseball portraits over six decades, capturing Hall of Famers such as Babe Ruth and Ernie Banks as well as little-known players who were in the majors for only a brief period.

Rogers bought the Brace collection in 2012 for $1.35 million from the late photographer’s daughter, Mary. Their contract required Rogers to make a digital replica of each image for Brace’s personal use and gave her the right to take back the collection if Rogers defaulted on the deal.

Court records show Mary Brace won a $780,000 judgment against Rogers in 2015 for defaulting on the contract, but with so many creditors in front of her, it’s unlikely she’ll ever be repaid.

What was left of her dad’s collection, meanwhile, was seized when the FBI raided Rogers’ opulent North Little Rock home in 2013. The 27 boxes of negatives and photos were inventoried by a court-appointed receiver and sold last year at auction for $46,500, records show. The buyer, who owns a digital archiving company based in Lake Barrington, did not return calls Wednesday seeking comment.

Mary Brace said in a victim-impact statement to the court that she’d counted on the money from the sale for her retirement and was now in shaky financial condition. But what upset her most was what Rogers did to “my dad’s legacy,” she said in the letter, a portion of which was read aloud by the judge during the sentencing.

“My dad devoted his entire life to this collection, and Rogers told me he was going to honor it,” Brace wrote.

jmeisner@chicagotribune.com

irv
10-01-2018, 07:01 PM
Would the listing showing as a 10 pm start be the show?

It doesn't mention any names nor say it is a sport/memorabilia episode? :confused:

"American Greed: Scams, Scoundrels and Scandals Scams on Film/ God and Gold New

A man criminally builds one of the most impressive photo archives in the world and another man tricks his clients by selling them fool’s gold"

10:00 PM on CNBC Canada

The others before and after it are pretty clear so I assume this is the one?

Funny description? :confused:
https://www.tvpassport.com/series/american-greed-scams-scoundrels-and-scandals/126030

Hankphenom
10-01-2018, 08:33 PM
Very interesting read!!

Although I have been back collecting almost 3 yrs now, it still amazes me when I read about the ugliness in this hobby that I naively didn't think existed. :o

How do you think Bernie Madoff's friends felt!

vtgmsc
10-01-2018, 08:55 PM
Shoutout to the previous poster...... Walter Johnson's Grandson Hank Thomas! Hi Hank! Last time I saw you was in Burlington VT at Tom Simon's house! Great memories of your incredible stories and your historical perspective.

Ok......the real reason I am posting here........I was duped by John Rogers and never recouped a penny. He got me on a fake Lou Gehrig/Ruth barnstorming baseball. Even agreed to refund so I sent it back..........UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Never really heard an honest answer from him after that except lies and excuses.
I am recording the episode. Will likely cringe while watching it! Ouch!

Peace, Mike

bostonmarathonman
10-01-2018, 08:58 PM
Would the listing showing as a 10 pm start be the show?

It doesn't mention any names nor say it is a sport/memorabilia episode? :confused:

"American Greed: Scams, Scoundrels and Scandals Scams on Film/ God and Gold New

A man criminally builds one of the most impressive photo archives in the world and another man tricks his clients by selling them fool’s gold"

10:00 PM on CNBC Canada

The others before and after it are pretty clear so I assume this is the one?

Funny description? :confused:
https://www.tvpassport.com/series/american-greed-scams-scoundrels-and-scandals/126030


Yes, the 10pm EST episode is the one. It's also repeated at 1am so set your DVR if you go to bed early. The info on my TV mentions his name.

irv
10-01-2018, 09:10 PM
How do you think Bernie Madoff's friends felt!

I couldn't imagine.

Yes, the 10pm EST episode is the one. It's also repeated at 1am so set your DVR if you go to bed early. The info on my TV mentions his name.

Thanks! :)

Fballguy
10-02-2018, 08:55 AM
The balls on this guy. No pun intended.

ejharrington
10-02-2018, 11:43 AM
I watched the episode last night and thought they did a good job. My question after watching was: how many of the "many thousands" of forged autographs are still floating around and how many of them were so good they passed authentication?

Dpoolem3
10-02-2018, 12:25 PM
I watched the episode last night and thought they did a good job. My question after watching was: how many of the "many thousands" of forged autographs are still floating around and how many of them were so good they passed authentication?

every one of them

ejharrington
10-02-2018, 01:35 PM
Yikes! He did like 1000 Muhammad Ali's in one sitting.

every one of them

prewarsports
10-02-2018, 02:19 PM
Ill never forget the time he called me in September 2013 on the phone to tell me he would stop at nothing to destroy the photo auction I was starting that he saw as a threat to his business model (wont go into too many other details) and he tried, including launching a press release bashing me the week our first auction ended etc. I haven't given it much thought in five years but what is interesting now after watching the episode last night is that he was already being investigated by the FBI when he made the phone call and he knew it! Crazy stuff.

The worst part besides the obvious fraud and deceit is that he has driven some REALLY great collectors out of the hobby for good.

Dewey
10-02-2018, 03:03 PM
Yikes! He did like 1000 Muhammad Ali's in one sitting.

He said 10,000!

Hot Springs Bathers
10-02-2018, 04:07 PM
A big question I have is why didn't the FBI return the "stolen" Brace collection to the family rather than selling it?

Orioles1954
10-02-2018, 04:33 PM
Ill never forget the time he called me in September 2013 on the phone to tell me he would stop at nothing to destroy the photo auction I was starting that he saw as a threat to his business model (wont go into too many other details) and he tried, including launching a press release bashing me the week our first auction ended etc. I haven't given it much thought in five years but what is interesting now after watching the episode last night is that he was already being investigated by the FBI when he made the phone call and he knew it! Crazy stuff.

The worst part besides the obvious fraud and deceit is that he has driven some REALLY great collectors out of the hobby for good.

Bad things happen to bad people. He had the nerve to invoke God in announcing he was coming back bigger and better from his prison phone.

Aquarian Sports Cards
10-02-2018, 04:40 PM
A big question I have is why didn't the FBI return the "stolen" Brace collection to the family rather than selling it?

I believe because technically they were just a creditor, no different than any other. All the assets would be sold and then distributed on a pro-rated basis among all the creditors.

Hankphenom
10-02-2018, 05:08 PM
Shoutout to the previous poster...... Walter Johnson's Grandson Hank Thomas! Hi Hank! Last time I saw you was in Burlington VT at Tom Simon's house! Great memories of your incredible stories and your historical perspective.
Peace, Mike

Hi Mike, I remember that visit well, we all had dinner at Tom's and I stepped in some dog poo in the back yard and tracked it into the house! You had a card shop there if I recall correctly, are you still in the business? I hear from Tom every once in a while but haven't seen him in a few years, I'm sure he's doing well. Sorry to hear about your experience with Rogers, I met him once at a national about ten years ago and he was a real charmer, a super-salesman in the Trumpian mode.
All the best,
Hank

calvindog
10-02-2018, 06:49 PM
Rogers is as big a degenerate as Bill Mastro which says a lot. And yet another example of hobbyists defending and holding up a scumbag on a pedestal solely because of the size of his alleged collection or bank account.

And Rogers would have ratted on anyone including his mother to avoid jail, he just couldn't stop committing fraud and lying. The idea that he "can't be defeated" is laughable as well. He was easily caught, turned and convicted; the only roadblock was the amount of fraud he had committed was so great that it took some time to track down most of it. Kudos to SA Brusokas for again busting his ass for a hobby that doesn't deserve him.

Hankphenom
10-02-2018, 07:32 PM
Kudos to SA Brusokas for again busting his ass for a hobby that doesn't deserve him.

Brian's a great guy, I had the privilege of talking to him at some length once. But I'm not sure I understand the dig at the hobby you're so much a part of. We all know about the many rotten apples that have been exposed, and no doubt there are more to come, but you and I could both name so many people that have proven themselves worthy of our trust over decades in the business. So exactly why aren't they worthy of protection from the fraudsters? Maybe I'm taking this too personally, but I think I'm worthy, and I certainly think you're worthy. How many other people on this forum and in this hobby are worthy?

Brian Van Horn
10-02-2018, 08:30 PM
Frankly, American Greed could have easily made a whole episode out of Rogers.

Aquarian Sports Cards
10-02-2018, 08:45 PM
Brian's a great guy, I had the privilege of talking to him at some length once. But I'm not sure I understand the dig at the hobby you're so much a part of. We all know about the many rotten apples that have been exposed, and no doubt there are more to come, but you and I could both name so many people that have proven themselves worthy of our trust over decades in the business. So exactly why aren't they worthy of protection from the fraudsters? Maybe I'm taking this too personally, but I think I'm worthy, and I certainly think you're worthy. How many other people on this forum and in this hobby are worthy?

Have to admit I kinda felt the same way about that last line. I'm a big Jeff Lichtman fan, and I hope it was just hyperbole getting the better of him.

Hankphenom
10-02-2018, 09:08 PM
Have to admit I kinda felt the same way about that last line. I'm a big Jeff Lichtman fan, and I hope it was just hyperbole getting the better of him.

Count me also among those in Jeff's fan club, and you know what? For what he's done for all of us and for the hobby, he's certainly entitled to see a darker side to it than the rest of us if he wants to.

SetBuilder
10-02-2018, 10:27 PM
~$22 million is a huge sum for sports memorabilia. Sounds to me like Mr. Rogers made some dealers a lot of money over the years. He couldn't have done it alone.

irv
10-02-2018, 10:39 PM
Brian's a great guy, I had the privilege of talking to him at some length once. But I'm not sure I understand the dig at the hobby you're so much a part of. We all know about the many rotten apples that have been exposed, and no doubt there are more to come, but you and I could both name so many people that have proven themselves worthy of our trust over decades in the business. So exactly why aren't they worthy of protection from the fraudsters? Maybe I'm taking this too personally, but I think I'm worthy, and I certainly think you're worthy. How many other people on this forum and in this hobby are worthy?

Have to admit I kinda felt the same way about that last line. I'm a big Jeff Lichtman fan, and I hope it was just hyperbole getting the better of him.

You guys are misinterpreting what Jeff is saying. Basically, or in other words, Jeff is saying our hobby has no place in it for people like of him. At least that is how I am reading it.

commishbob
10-02-2018, 10:43 PM
You guys are misinterpreting what Jeff is saying. Basically, or in other words, Jeff is saying our hobby has no place in it for people like of him. At least that is how I am reading it.

^^^^^this

rhettyeakley
10-02-2018, 10:56 PM
You guys are misinterpreting what Jeff is saying. Basically, or in other words, Jeff is saying our hobby has no place in it for people like of him. At least that is how I am reading it.

I think they are interpreting Jeff correctly. I think Jeff feels that we allowed Mastro to do what he did without anybody really doing anything (and even sticking up for him) and we continue to allow people with blatant fraudulent pasts to be the lead at many of the major auction houses and some of the biggest dealers. Some of the principle owners of auction houses have done time in jail/prison, others have a checkered past ripping off people through print/tv, others were even part of the Mastro shenanigans only to be re-hired by other companies to do the same job they had a hard time doing ethically in the past.

Aquarian Sports Cards
10-02-2018, 11:13 PM
I asked Jeff if he'd hop back in instead of us all trying to interpret his meaning.

Hankphenom
10-03-2018, 12:16 AM
I think they are interpreting Jeff correctly. I think Jeff feels that we allowed Mastro to do what he did without anybody really doing anything (and even sticking up for him) and we continue to allow people with blatant fraudulent pasts to be the lead at many of the major auction houses and some of the biggest dealers. Some of the principle owners of auction houses have done time in jail/prison, others have a checkered past ripping off people through print/tv, others were even part of the Mastro shenanigans only to be re-hired by other companies to do the same job they had a hard time doing ethically in the past.

So the hobby is so dirty and corrupt that it's beyond redemption and doesn't deserve the protection of the legal system, is that it? A cesspool of criminal activity with the collusion and consent of most of the big players? What would you estimate the % of the dirty part to the good part? And if I could get personal for a second, if it's this bad, why are you involved in it? For that matter, why is Jeff? After 40 years in the hobby, I honestly had no idea it was like that, now you've got me rethinking everything.

rhettyeakley
10-03-2018, 12:44 AM
So the hobby is so dirty and corrupt that it's beyond redemption and doesn't deserve the protection of the legal system, is that it? A cesspool of criminal activity with the collusion and consent of most of the big players? What would you estimate the % of the dirty part to the good part? And if I could get personal for a second, if it's this bad, why are you involved in it? For that matter, why is Jeff? After 40 years in the hobby, I honestly had no idea it was like that, now you've got me rethinking everything.

That is not what I was saying, the hobby is full of awesome people in my opinion. There are some bad apples in it (as we all know) and it is the belief of some that that concentration is too high and that we will condone bad behavior as long as they continue to "deliver the goods" and offer items we "need to have." I feel Jeff has been pretty outspoken about his stance in this regard.

Hank, no need to rethink anything, you are good for the hobby and we need more people that are in it for the love of the hobby. There have always been shady people and there probably always will be, I was pointing out what I thought Jeff was referring to in his post.

vtgmsc
10-03-2018, 01:31 AM
Hi Mike, I remember that visit well, we all had dinner at Tom's and I stepped in some dog poo in the back yard and tracked it into the house! You had a card shop there if I recall correctly, are you still in the business? I hear from Tom every once in a while but haven't seen him in a few years, I'm sure he's doing well. Sorry to hear about your experience with Rogers, I met him once at a national about ten years ago and he was a real charmer, a super-salesman in the Trumpian mode.
All the best,
Hank

Hank,

Great memory! I sent you a PM,

Mike

irv
10-03-2018, 10:24 AM
That is not what I was saying, the hobby is full of awesome people in my opinion. There are some bad apples in it (as we all know) and it is the belief of some that that concentration is too high and that we will condone bad behavior as long as they continue to "deliver the goods" and offer items we "need to have." I feel Jeff has been pretty outspoken about his stance in this regard.

Hank, no need to rethink anything, you are good for the hobby and we need more people that are in it for the love of the hobby. There have always been shady people and there probably always will be, I was pointing out what I thought Jeff was referring to in his post.

This as well. I mentioned in another thread last year it must be hard for Jeff and others to keep carrying on fighting the good fight when he reads and sees others who still support these types who partake in fraudulent and illegal acts.

I am sure he has read/seen some who complain only to turn around and support them to some extent after they have been busted or outed.

I have seen it for myself on here with members who deal/bid with questionable A/H's or suspect persons.

In my opinion, those who support these types are not helping the hobby one bit, and in fact are doing further damage by condoning their behaviour.

I am all for giving people second chances but if their behavior hasn't changed much or any from their previous, then that is where I draw the line no matter what they have for sale.

Hankphenom
10-03-2018, 11:51 AM
That is not what I was saying, the hobby is full of awesome people in my opinion. There are some bad apples in it (as we all know) and it is the belief of some that that concentration is too high and that we will condone bad behavior as long as they continue to "deliver the goods" and offer items we "need to have." I feel Jeff has been pretty outspoken about his stance in this regard.

Hank, no need to rethink anything, you are good for the hobby and we need more people that are in it for the love of the hobby. There have always been shady people and there probably always will be, I was pointing out what I thought Jeff was referring to in his post.

Thanks for clarifying, I like this description of the state of the hobby much better than your original, which paints a pretty bleak picture. I bridled at Jeff's suggestion that things were so bad that the FBI's efforts were like pearls before swine, so to speak, and hope that they, he, and all the other good people involved see enough value in the hobby to continue the work trying to keep it clean.