In what could turn out to be a big win in the fight against fraud in America, attorneys for the Eastern District of New York have brought conspiracy wire fraud charges against a man that, they allege, had already defrauded people of over $800,000 through a counterfeit trading card scheme.

What does a New York fraud case have to do with the Centennial State? Well, it seems the alleged perpetrator is a Colorado resident, meaning this case of card-based chicanery crosses state lines.

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A press release from the District Attorney's office revealed the charges against one Mayo Gilbert McNeil of Denver, 82. He is alleged to have scammed victims found on the internet with fake sports trading cards, the most notable of which would be a series of counterfeit Michael Jordan rookie cards from 1986. The alleged scheme led victims to lose more than $800,000 in cash and authentic cards that had been traded for the fakes between April 2015 and July 2019. We won't have the full story, nor Mr. McNeil's defense, until he actually goes to trial in New York.

Now, I'm not much for trading cards, myself, so I don't really know their value. However, I do spend a lot of time seeking out classic, out-of-print items like books and video games, so I know how hard it is to shop online safely. When you're already in a shopping environment with the obnoxious price-gouging the internet likes to promote, schemes like these are especially irritating.

My recommendation? Don't do any business that requires valuation on the internet, nor without an independent third party to verify that everything is on the up and up. A little bit of hassle at the beginning can save you a lot of hassle at the end.

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