Law of Cards: Restitution Ordered for Some, Not All, in Jersey-Gate

Law of Cards: Restitution Ordered for Some, Not All, in Jersey-Gate

Last fall, Bradley Wells, Bernard Gernay, Bradley Horne and Steve Jensen were sentenced for their alleged involvement in what has been dubbed "Jersey-gate." Wells and Gernay each received six months of imprisonment, Mr. Horne received three months and Jensen got four months of home supervision. Each also received three years of supervision after their release.

In perhaps the final action in these criminal cases, in late December, the court ruled on the amount of restitution each was to pay.

Mr. Wells was ordered to pay the largest amount of restitution: $36,924.00. This court filing details to whom and for what amount Mr. Wells needs to pay. The court also found that "certain other entities that might be entitled to restitution have waived any right to restitution," and "[a]ny other persons or entities that might be considered for restitution are not able to be identified or any loss too difficult to calculate."

Mr. Gernay and Mr. Horne were not ordered to pay restitution as the court found that "certain entities that might be entitled to restitution have waived any right to restitution," and "[a]ny other persons or entities that might be considered for restitution are not able to be identified or any loss too difficult to calculate. "

Mr. Jensen was ordered to pay full restitution to "Victim John B." who apparently purchased a fraudulent jersey. After it is returned, the government is ordered to destroy it as well.

From prior court filings, it appears that Panini contended that due to Mr. Wells conduct, it incurred a loss of $3.3 million, which included an out of pocket loss of $125,908 (the value of merchandise acquired from Donruss) and a loss of $114,745 which was the value of materials quarantined by FBI. Panini contended this equated to lost revenue of $2.7 million. Panini also contended that Mr. Horne was responsible for a $1.3 million loss. From the court's rulings, it appears that Panini was not compensated for these losses.

It should be noted, however, that although "restitution" might have been found to be "too difficult to calculate," victims still might attempt to recover alleged losses through civil lawsuits.

Legal translation: Restitution differs from civil liability. Restitution is ordered by a criminal court after a defendant has been found guilty, and is required to be paid to a victim as part of his or her sentence. Civil damages, on the other hand, are ordered when a party wins a civil lawsuit. Victims of crime can obtain both restitution and civil damages. However, double-dipping is (normally) not allowed...so if a victim is awarded restitution, it might reduce/eliminate some civil liability, or vice versa.

It'll be interesting to see if any civil claims arise, but as of now, it looks as if the criminal-side of "Jersey-gate" is over.

The information provided in Paul Lesko's "Law of Cards" column is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered in the sports industry. This information is not intended to create any legal relationship between Paul Lesko, the Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC or any attorney and the user. Neither the transmission nor receipt of these website materials will create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the readers.

The views expressed in the "Law of Cards" column are solely those of the author and are not affiliated with the Simmons Law Firm. You should not act or rely on any information in the "Law of Cards" column without seeking the advice of an attorney. The determination of whether you need legal services and your choice of a lawyer are very important matters that should not be based on websites or advertisements.

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Paul Lesko is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and the chair of its Intellectual Property Department (http://www.simmonsfirm.com). Don’t hold the fact that Paul is a lawyer against him, he’s also a rabid baseball and college basketball fan, and an avid baseball card collector. Paul can be found on Twitter @Paul_Lesko and Google+.

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