Illegal Retail Sports Card Scheme Unraveled By Florida Authorities
Jesus Gil and Vivian Galarraga of Hunter's Creek, Florida were arrested last Tuesday as the result of a several month-long investigation in which authorities say they defrauded Target and Wal-Mart of thousands of dollars worth of retail sports cards. The fraudulently obtained cards were then sold through their eBay account for a staggering profit.
The scam was simple enough. According to court documents, the couple purchased packs of sports cards for $2.99, cut out their UPC codes, and then pasted them over the real UPC codes of various blaster boxes and complete factory sealed sets which were being sold for as much as $59.99 each. But the scam doesn't end there. They then proceeded to cherry pick the contents of each of the boxes they purchased and re-seal the leftovers so that they could return them to the store for a refund. Additionally, they used this illegal blueprint to fraudulently obtain high dollar calculators from the chain retailers.
Operating under the eBay user ID gjesus305 the criminal duo has registered $47,200 in total sales since last September, which is when police say the scam first began. Virtually all the items which were sold include calculators and 2011 sports card singles which are obtainable exclusively or partially through retail specific boxes, though it is unclear what portion of them were illegally obtained. Notable cards sold through their eBay account since September 2010 include a 2010 Bowman Platinum Stephen Strasburg Auto Patch RC ($230.27), a 2011 Topps Heritage Al Kaline Flashbacks Auto ($109.04), and a 2010 R&S Tim Tebow Logo Patch Auto ($167.50). They also had an autographed Albert Pujols card which was priced at $500. Officials say that a search of their residence uncovered more than 10,000 sports cards, as well as a dozen new calculators.