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  #1  
Old 04-28-2018, 08:07 PM
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Default Mastro Auctions: Looking for Former Employees

Greetings. I'm a vintage card collector (30+ years) working on a nonfiction book detailing what occurred at Mastro Auctions. Am trying to get background information on what it was like to work at the AH during its heyday (1996-2008). If you would be willing to speak to me on the record OR on background only, please provide me with contact info and I'll follow up.
Or, does anyone know how to reach any of these people?
My objective is to document a full and accurate story. Thanks for any help you would be willing to provide. I'm Chicago-based.

Mark Arzoumanian
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2018, 09:01 PM
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Default Ex Con

Mark Theotakis, a convicted Mastro felon, now works at Heritage.

As for victims of these crooks, this site is full of them, myself included.
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Last edited by mantlefan; 04-28-2018 at 09:04 PM. Reason: error
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  #3  
Old 04-28-2018, 09:07 PM
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Mr. Allen is in Pekin, IL, or was at last report.

https://www.sportscollectorsdaily.co...ison-sentence/

Corrected per update at end of story.
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Old 04-28-2018, 09:09 PM
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LOL, Peter.
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Old 04-29-2018, 12:33 AM
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There are plenty of rocks one might look under for some of the former staff.

Brian
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2018, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
Mr. Allen is in Pekin, IL, or was at last report.

https://www.sportscollectorsdaily.co...ison-sentence/

Corrected per update at end of story.
From what I understand, because Doug claimed to the court he was not only a crook but also a drunk, he is eligible for the Residential Drug Abuse Program which could have him out of jail at the end of this year. Which means you should all keep your hands on your wallets when that occurs.
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Old 04-29-2018, 09:02 AM
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Default Allen

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From what I understand, because Doug claimed to the court he was not only a crook but also a drunk, he is eligible for the Residential Drug Abuse Program which could have him out of jail at the end of this year. Which means you should all keep your hands on your wallets when that occurs.
I guess a job at Heritage awaits him as well!
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Old 04-29-2018, 09:35 AM
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I can't believe Heritage would hire somebody like that from Mastro's. Don't they think there's no one else qualified out there without someone with a criminal record. You go to jail come out and there's a job waiting for you in the same field that you got busted for. Amazing.

Last edited by keithsky; 04-29-2018 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 04-29-2018, 09:39 AM
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I will put in a good word for Theo. Personally I think he is the epitome of good people can make bad mistakes. I have made bad ones before too and am thankful for a second chance.
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  #10  
Old 04-29-2018, 10:23 AM
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I can't believe Heritage would hire somebody like that from Mastro's. Don't they think there's no one else qualified out there without some crook with a criminal record. You go to jail come out and there's a job waiting for you in the same field that you got busted for. Amazing.
Simplest terms, he know the people with the good buyers and material are and Heritage thinks he can help them get those consignments/buyers to do more business with Heritage. Business decision, pure and simple

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  #11  
Old 04-29-2018, 12:29 PM
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I will put in a good word for Theo. Personally I think he is the epitome of good people can make bad mistakes. I have made bad ones before too and am thankful for a second chance.
Well put. Leon
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  #12  
Old 04-29-2018, 12:42 PM
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I agree people deserve a second chance but in the professional that there were sent to jail for? For example if someone works in a bank and steals money and personal info on customers and went to jail for it do you think the banking industry should hire that person back? I don't think they would. Plenty of other jobs out there. Wasn't Mastro ban from being in the Sports Memoribilia field now?

Last edited by keithsky; 04-29-2018 at 12:51 PM.
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  #13  
Old 04-29-2018, 12:50 PM
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I agree people deserve a second chance but maybe not in the professional that there were sent to jail for. For example if someone works in a bank and steals money and personal info on customers and went to jail for it do you think the banking industry should hire that person back? I don't think they would. Plenty of other jobs out there. Wasn't Mastro ban from being in the Sports Memoribilia field now?
I agree, but I can't help but think of Frank Abagnale.
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  #14  
Old 04-29-2018, 11:06 PM
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Default Plus one

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Originally Posted by keithsky View Post
I agree people deserve a second chance but in the professional that there were sent to jail for? For example if someone works in a bank and steals money and personal info on customers and went to jail for it do you think the banking industry should hire that person back? I don't think they would. Plenty of other jobs out there. Wasn't Mastro ban from being in the Sports Memoribilia field now?
+1 Keith.

I plan on looking up Theotakis in Cleveland. I think we all should. Let him and HA know what we think of them.

Who in their right mind would consign with Heritage thru MT? He is toxic. Second chances should be given, but not a second chance for shilling and cheating Hobbyists. Let him get a job at the Post Office. Oh, I forgot, they don't hire ex-cons.
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  #15  
Old 04-30-2018, 12:07 AM
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I agree with Leon 100%. Mark did his time and I hope being around the quality guys at Heritage will allow him, over time, the opportunity to repair his reputation.
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  #16  
Old 04-30-2018, 07:14 AM
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+1 Keith.

Second chances should be given, but not a second chance for shilling and cheating Hobbyists. Let him get a job at the Post Office. Oh, I forgot, they don't hire ex-cons.
Yes, they do. Several years ago I interviewed and hired a person who had committed a felony when he was in his late teens. We discussed it at the interview and I hired him. He turned out to be one of the best employees that I hired during my 18 years as a Postmaster.

Rick
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  #17  
Old 04-30-2018, 08:13 AM
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I always liked Mark, too, but I don't like the fact that he was part of a plan that stole several thousand dollars from me and many, many others. I am all for second chances, but I know my conscience would not rest knowing zero effort has been made to pay restitution to the bilked bidders.
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  #18  
Old 04-30-2018, 08:19 AM
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People should be given second chances in life but not allowed back in the same industry where they committed a crime.

I was shilled by Mastro and I can never forgive anyone who has ripped me off. I worked very hard my whole life to make a living. I am not going to forgive someone who stole money from me.

We should be trying to clean the hobby up. We are not here to give second chances to people who took advantage of us.

I have been a customer of Heritage for several years and now am having second thoughts after hearing who they hired.
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  #19  
Old 04-30-2018, 08:49 AM
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I agree with Leon 100%. Mark did his time and I hope being around the quality guys at Heritage will allow him, over time, the opportunity to repair his reputation.
Would you feel the same way if Heritage had hired Bill Mastro?
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  #20  
Old 04-30-2018, 12:35 PM
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Would you feel the same way if Heritage had hired Bill Mastro?
That's a hypothetical that would never happen. However, Mike Milken has been accepted back into the finance industry. Steroid users are allowed back into baseball. Look at A-Rod now as a commentator on ESPN game broadcasts.
Speaking of which, did anyone else catch when Jessica Mendoza (with A-Rod sitting right next to her), talking about Albert Pujols, saying that 3000 hits and 600 homers is an automatic entry to the HOF.
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  #21  
Old 04-30-2018, 01:42 PM
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I repeat the question that you didn't answer.
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  #22  
Old 04-30-2018, 01:47 PM
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As I said, it is a hypothetical that would never happen. However, if it does, I will be happy to tell you at that time how I feel.
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  #23  
Old 04-30-2018, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
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As I said, it is a hypothetical that would never happen. However, if it does, I will be happy to tell you at that time how I feel.
Sweet. I am using that with my wife.
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  #24  
Old 04-30-2018, 02:08 PM
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Yeah, see how well that goes over.
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  #25  
Old 04-30-2018, 07:14 PM
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I agree with Leon 100%. Mark did his time and I hope being around the quality guys at Heritage will allow him, over time, the opportunity to repair his reputation.
I’m curious about your stance. When NJ Dunkin admitted his wrongdoing (which was relatively minor in comparison to anything connected with Mastro), you were among the first to write him off with a “bye, Felicia” (which was funny, but that’s not the point.) So after NJ does his “time,” can we rightfully sssume you’d support his reentry into the mainstream so he can rebuild his reputation?

Sam Sw@rtz, but my full name is always in the header
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  #26  
Old 04-30-2018, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Buythatcard View Post
People should be given second chances in life but not allowed back in the same industry where they committed a crime.

I was shilled by Mastro and I can never forgive anyone who has ripped me off. I worked very hard my whole life to make a living. I am not going to forgive someone who stole money from me.

We should be trying to clean the hobby up. We are not here to give second chances to people who took advantage of us.

I have been a customer of Heritage for several years and now am having second thoughts after hearing who they hired.
I feel the same way, Howard, and I emailed Chris Ivy when this first came out.

Basically Ivy told me to pound sand.


Edited to add:


"Pound Sand"

"The origin of the expression "go pound sand" is from a longer expression, "not to know (have enough sense to) pound sand down a rathole. "Filling rat holes with sand is menial work, and telling someone to pound sand down a hole is like telling them to go fly a kite. The expression dates to at least 1912 and is common in the midwestern United States."
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  #27  
Old 05-01-2018, 08:30 AM
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Just curious I'm wondering if the people that support the guy from Mastro and saying he deserves a second chance and how nice of a guy he is would feel different if they got ripped of by him and the other Mastro guys and lost thousands of dollars. If I got ripped off by Mastro and the boys I sure wouldn't be on here saying nice things about him but that's just me.
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  #28  
Old 05-01-2018, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leon View Post
I will put in a good word for Theo. Personally I think he is the epitome of good people can make bad mistakes. I have made bad ones before too and am thankful for a second chance.
A big +1 there! Haven't we all?

Highest regards,

Larry
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Old 05-01-2018, 06:34 PM
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I agree, but I can't help but think of Frank Abagnale.
Absolutely! Wasn't that some movie with DiCapprio, Brian?

Best wishes always,

Larry

PS: I hope you gain access to the information necessary to thoroughly research your book, Mark. I look forward to reading it!

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Old 05-01-2018, 08:16 PM
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Nope. The fact that Heritage hired him simply cements the fact that I won't bid in one of their auctions again. Stuff doesn't always trump everything, nor should it IMO, so I'm out. I'm all for second chances, but not in the same industry where you have already displayed your inability to follow the basic rules that you lie about following. There are simply too many other options available that haven't yet disappointed me.
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Old 05-01-2018, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithsky View Post
Just curious I'm wondering if the people that support the guy from Mastro and saying he deserves a second chance and how nice of a guy he is would feel different if they got ripped of by him and the other Mastro guys and lost thousands of dollars. If I got ripped off by Mastro and the boys I sure wouldn't be on here saying nice things about him but that's just me.
Many here love Mastro. He made them thousands of dollars.

Last edited by slipk1068; 05-01-2018 at 08:28 PM.
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  #32  
Old 05-01-2018, 11:23 PM
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...and many people were ripped off for thousands by Mastro and aren't very happy.

Second chances are for the errors of youth. For adults of Theotakis' age, fraudulently shilling auctions and robbing tens of thousands of dollars was an act of crass greed. He knew that he was willfully and willingly cheating. He profited and he has admitted his sins. He has confessed his shameful actions, but I don't recall him providing any restitution to his victims. This was NOT a victimless crime and his victims are due restitution. That's where his second chance should begin. A simple mea culpa just doesn't work for this kind of criminal.
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Old 05-01-2018, 11:32 PM
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I agree. What is the difference between mark and Mastro or Allen? I’m amazed that people I consider men of integrity like Leon and Jay are so casual about the idea that someone with this history should be welcomed back into the same hobby that he ripped off.


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Originally Posted by Kenny Cole View Post
Nope. The fact that Heritage hired him simply cements the fact that I won't bid in one of their auctions again. Stuff doesn't always trump everything, nor should it IMO, so I'm out. I'm all for second chances, but not in the same industry where you have already displayed your inability to follow the basic rules that you lie about following. There are simply too many other options available that haven't yet disappointed me.
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Old 05-01-2018, 11:47 PM
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+1. 100% agree with everything Frank said. Something about fool me once ....

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...and many people were ripped off for thousands by Mastro and aren't very happy.

Second chances are for the errors of youth. For adults of Theotakis' age, fraudulently shilling auctions and robbing tens of thousands of dollars was an act of crass greed. He knew that he was willfully and willingly cheating. He profited and he has admitted his sins. He has confessed his shameful actions, but I don't recall him providing any restitution to his victims. This was NOT a victimless crime and his victims are due restitution. That's where his second chance should begin. A simple mea culpa just doesn't work for this kind of criminal.
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Old 05-02-2018, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
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...and many people were ripped off for thousands by Mastro and aren't very happy.

Second chances are for the errors of youth. For adults of Theotakis' age, fraudulently shilling auctions and robbing tens of thousands of dollars was an act of crass greed. He knew that he was willfully and willingly cheating. He profited and he has admitted his sins. He has confessed his shameful actions, but I don't recall him providing any restitution to his victims. This was NOT a victimless crime and his victims are due restitution. That's where his second chance should begin. A simple mea culpa just doesn't work for this kind of criminal.
Yeah, color me baffled at those who seemingly don't care that Heritage has hired a convicted auction fraud. That just makes no sense to me. This isn't getting busted with a dime bag when you're in high school. It's consciously, willfully committing fraud against hundreds, or thousands, of people over an extended period of time. That's not "a mistake" and you shouldn't even be considered for a second chance in the industry, let alone actually GET one.
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  #36  
Old 05-02-2018, 08:01 AM
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Send Ivy a link to the thread to let him know the sand pile is growing 🙂
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  #37  
Old 05-02-2018, 04:00 PM
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I will put in a good word for Theo. Personally I think he is the epitome of good people can make bad mistakes. I have made bad ones before too and am thankful for a second chance.
Leon,

I agree with you on your support for Mark...well stated.
You don't just talk-the-talk, but you also walk-the-walk.

Regards,
Paul
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Old 05-02-2018, 04:42 PM
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I ask this out of genuine interest not to confront. For those of you who support Heritage's decision, would you equally support a decision by a major auction house to hire Bill? And if not, what's the difference?
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  #39  
Old 05-02-2018, 05:58 PM
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Leon,

I agree with you on your support for Mark...well stated.
You don't just talk-the-talk, but you also walk-the-walk.

Regards,
Paul
Deciding to go to work every day and cheat people for years isn't a bad mistake. It's a career criminal plying his trade.
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  #40  
Old 05-02-2018, 06:08 PM
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Recap
https://www.sportscollectorsdaily.co...yee-sentenced/
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  #41  
Old 05-02-2018, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
From 2007-2009 alone, investigators believe Mastro, Allen and Theotikos drove up bids on items by nearly $1 million.
Yep, just "a mistake". A multi-year escapade that ripped off people to the tune of over $1,000,000. Just "a mistake". SMH.
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:25 PM
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When I first started reading this thread, I agreed with most that everyone deserves a second chance but the more opinions I read and the more I learned about the man the more I changed my thoughts on this.

Currently I am still on the fence, with a slight tilt to the left, saying no way should he have been hired back into the hobby but I also think if he is being used for his expertise (If he has some?) and providing consultation trying to help clean up the hobby by identifying fraudulent cards and memorabilia, then I am not so sure that is a bad thing.

Someone mentioned in this thread, Frank Abagnale. (Catch me if you can) If I am not mistaken, he was hired as a consultant and has likely helped the U.S. Gov't/FBI/CIA, etc, by identifying same/similar frauds/scams and the like that he once used saving the American people/Gov't millions of dollars?

If this is the case, then I must admit I am all for it, but if he is doing none of this, then no way do I agree with this hiring based on what I have read about the man and how many people, over the years, he has ripped off.

Frank Abagnale:
Legitimate jobs
In 1974, after he had served less than five years of his 12-year sentence at Federal Correctional Institution in Petersburg, Virginia, the United States federal government released him on the condition that he help the federal authorities, without pay, to investigate crimes committed by fraud and scam artists, and sign in once a week.[21] Unwilling to return to his family in New York, he left the choice of parole up to the court and it was decided that he would be paroled in Texas.

After his release, Abagnale tried numerous jobs, including cook, grocer, and movie projectionist, but he was fired from most of these after it was discovered he had been hired without revealing his criminal past. Finding these jobs unsatisfying, he approached a bank with an offer. He explained to the bank what he had done and offered to speak to the bank's staff and show them various tricks that "paperhangers" use to defraud banks. His offer included the condition that if they did not find his speech helpful, they would owe him nothing; otherwise, they would owe him only $500 with an agreement that they would provide his name to other banks.[22] With that, he began a legitimate life as a security consultant.[23]

He later founded Abagnale & Associates, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma,[23] which advises companies on fraud issues. Abagnale also continues to advise the FBI, with whom he has associated for over 40 years, by teaching at the FBI Academy and lecturing for FBI field offices throughout the country. According to his website, more than 14,000 institutions have adopted Abagnale's fraud prevention programs.[24]

Abagnale testified before the US Senate in November 2012 about the vulnerabilities of senior citizens to fraud, particularly stressing the ubiquitous use of Social Security numbers for identification included on Medicare cards.
[25][26][27]

Last edited by irv; 05-02-2018 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
I ask this out of genuine interest not to confront. For those of you who support Heritage's decision, would you equally support a decision by a major auction house to hire Bill? And if not, what's the difference?
No, I would not support a decision to hire Bill or Doug. Different crimes committed, or at least severity. And as you well know, that is why the sentencing guidelines were different.

But yes, answering any question why there is support for someone who did what Mark did, is setting oneself up for disaster. That is why there are crickets. I know all 3 of them, I would only support Mark being hired....not that my support matters or not. I think Mark was lead down a bad path and don't think he will do it again. That is my opinion. I am not saying he didn't know what he was doing when he did it. He did and paid for it.
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:41 PM
Jenx34 Jenx34 is offline
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Originally Posted by irv View Post
When I first started reading this thread, I agreed with most that everyone deserves a second chance but the more opinions I read and the more I learned about the man the more I changed my thoughts on this.

Currently I am still on the fence, with a slight tilt to the left, saying no way should he have been hired back into the hobby but I also think if he is being used for his expertise (If he has some?) and providing consultation trying to help clean up the hobby by identifying fraudulent cards and memorabilia, then I am not so sure that is a bad thing.

Someone mentioned in this thread, Frank Abagnale. (Catch me if you can) If I am not mistaken, he was hired as a consultant and has likely helped the U.S. Gov't/FBI/CIA, etc, by identifying same/similar frauds/scams and the like that he once used saving the American people/Gov't millions of dollars?

If this is the case, then I must admit I am all for it, but if he is doing none of this, then no way do I agree with this hiring based on what I have read about the man and how many people, over the years, he has ripped off.

Frank Abagnale:
Legitimate jobs
In 1974, after he had served less than five years of his 12-year sentence at Federal Correctional Institution in Petersburg, Virginia, the United States federal government released him on the condition that he help the federal authorities, without pay, to investigate crimes committed by fraud and scam artists, and sign in once a week.[21] Unwilling to return to his family in New York, he left the choice of parole up to the court and it was decided that he would be paroled in Texas.

After his release, Abagnale tried numerous jobs, including cook, grocer, and movie projectionist, but he was fired from most of these after it was discovered he had been hired without revealing his criminal past. Finding these jobs unsatisfying, he approached a bank with an offer. He explained to the bank what he had done and offered to speak to the bank's staff and show them various tricks that "paperhangers" use to defraud banks. His offer included the condition that if they did not find his speech helpful, they would owe him nothing; otherwise, they would owe him only $500 with an agreement that they would provide his name to other banks.[22] With that, he began a legitimate life as a security consultant.[23]

He later founded Abagnale & Associates, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma,[23] which advises companies on fraud issues. Abagnale also continues to advise the FBI, with whom he has associated for over 40 years, by teaching at the FBI Academy and lecturing for FBI field offices throughout the country. According to his website, more than 14,000 institutions have adopted Abagnale's fraud prevention programs.[24]

Abagnale testified before the US Senate in November 2012 about the vulnerabilities of senior citizens to fraud, particularly stressing the ubiquitous use of Social Security numbers for identification included on Medicare cards.
[25][26][27]
I don't know what his role is with Heritage, but Abagnale's is not a good comparison regardless. Abagnale never went to work for a bank where he had access to anything, he was merely a consultant teaching banks to avoid fraud, just as he was doing with the Federal Government.

A proper comparison would be if Mark Theotkis (sp?) would consult with all auction houses that want to pay him to help them prevent fraud, identify counterfeit items, etc.
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Jenx34 View Post
I don't know what his role is with Heritage, but Abagnale's is not a good comparison regardless. Abagnale never went to work for a bank where he had access to anything, he was merely a consultant teaching banks to avoid fraud, just as he was doing with the Federal Government.

A proper comparison would be if Mark Theotkis (sp?) would consult with all auction houses that want to pay him to help them prevent fraud, identify counterfeit items, etc.
Excellent point, Chris. Frank A. worked to prevent future crimes. Theotakis is not contributing anything to society.
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Old 05-03-2018, 06:16 AM
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Mastro Auctions drove up auction bids by a shill bidding scheme on auction items from 2002 to 2009. Only the records from 2007 to 2009 have been recovered and documented by Government agencies. The earlier bidding records from 2002 to 2007 were destroyed. Victim loss during just that period was stated at $1,976,303.00. Mastro paid a $250,000 government fine and served a total 20 month sentence at federal prison camp at Pekin, Il., combined with a half-way house - released in May 2017. No penalty for destroying records. No restitution. The loot remains in the hands of the offender. Crime pays.
Mark Theotikos was released June 2017 from federal camp in Marion, Il.
Doug Allen release date is June, 2019 from federal camp at Perkin, Il.
These were the executives that orchestrated the seven-year fraudulent scheme - some employees had non-prison penalties.
However, there were many non-Mastro associates joined in the fraud by forming active consignor/shill bidder partnerships to participate in the bid boosting scams. These partners have significantly enriched themselves while evading exposure or penalty. Their victims are left without restitutions also.
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Old 05-03-2018, 07:27 AM
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With no skin in this game the need to chime in hits. Frank Abagnale (whom I have met) turned his life around for the better.

This fellow Mark who I don't know may be on that path also but maybe should show some good faith in offering to make some sort of restitution, otherwise there does not seem to be a reason to grant any trust. If he is sincere about being good for the hobby he should publicly commit to offering up some sort of restitution plan to at least make an effort.

If it cannot be determined who of the victims should get said restitution then maybe publicly donate it to a hobby voted on charity...

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Old 05-03-2018, 07:49 AM
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The fact that none of the "big three" have cooperated in trying to get the justice system the whole picture (destroyed records, names of other participants and/or victims) to me speaks volumes, as does a lack of even token restitution.
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Old 05-03-2018, 12:20 PM
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Only the records from 2007 to 2009 have been recovered and documented by Government agencies. The earlier bidding records from 2002 to 2007 were destroyed. Victim loss during just that period was stated at $1,976,303.00.
If I recall correctly, the way the victim loss amount was calculated was ridiculous. They considered one shill bid made at $50 towards an item that eventually sold for $5,000 as being a loss to victims of $5,000.

Not defending, just pointing it out.

Last edited by egbeachley; 05-03-2018 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 05-03-2018, 01:19 PM
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When the book or movies is written it should be called "The Big Shill"
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