FBI issues subpoenas as part of widening sports trading card fraud investigation

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Federal authorities have issued several subpoenas and contacted mostly anonymous members of an online forum as part of an ongoing investigation into altered sports trading cards that have sold for millions of dollars over the past several months.

PWCC, a major auction house in the trading card industry, was subpoenaed last month and was already cooperating with an FBI investigation, Jeffrey Lichtman, an attorney for the auction operator, told USA TODAY Sports. FBI agents served several others with subpoenas over the weekend at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, two people with knowledge of the investigation told USA TODAY Sports. The people were granted anonymity because details of the investigation have not been disclosed publicly.

“There has been some evidence that cards sold at PWCC auctions have been altered,” Lichtman said. “While there are questions of what constitutes an improper alteration, I can say with that PWCC is among those who have sold altered cards. PWCC has sold hundreds of thousands of cards and the problematic ones are in the hundreds — or less than 1%.”

The investigation appears to include auction houses, authentication firms as well as dealers who submitted possibly altered cards for auction. One person with knowledge of the investigation also said the FBI is likely looking at shill bidding, when the seller or somebody associated with the seller enters bids to drive up the price of an item.  READ MORE:

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