Police Nab Man in Florida For Allegedly Faking Nearly 40 Babe Ruth Autographed Baseballs
George Herman Ruth is one of most sought after autographs in sports memorabilia. Unfortunately, the demand for his signature has also led to a huge counterfeit problem. The recent news about a man in Florida shows that even fail-safes like a certificates of authenticity from a major authenticator are not always enough to guarantee a legitimate signature.
Over the past few months there have been multiple reports of fake Ruth balls being sold at pawn shops and memorabilia stores. The proximity of the forgeries all dealing with Ruth baseballs seemed curious and always involved a man needing fast cash due to a personal problem, but the weeks turned into months and nothing definite was revealed. It appears that the culprit has been apprehended, as police have arrested Marc A. Szakaly of Land ‘O Lakes, Florida. Putting together the pieces, the picture now shows a man who made at least 38 forgeries around Florida, selling at least 36 fake Ruth-signed baseballs. Police estimate that he pocketed between $35,000 and $45,000 while selling the balls for $500 to $6,000 each.
The reason the ruse worked for so long was because the balls were aged to appear vintage and were accompanied by a PSA/DNA certificate of authenticity. This fooled the purchasers into thinking they were helping out a person in need and getting a great deal on a valuable item. Hopefully there's one less forger out there now.
Szakaly was charged with one count of organized fraud. He was booked into the Pasco County Jail on Wednesday and released later on $50,000 bail.