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I suppose the saying “old habits die hard” applies more than ever to this story. In a truly baffling bit of news from Washington state, a former bank robber and his partner in crime have been charged by federal agents for selling fake Pokémon and sports cards. The duo, consisting of Anthony Curcio (43 and the former bank robber) and Iosif Bondarchuk (37), would take otherwise ordinary Pokémon cards and fabricate the grading given to them so that they could sell them for higher prices.



A fairly concise breakdown by Fox News Seattle gives you all the information you’ll need, but the gist of this story deals with the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) grading system and how Curcio and Bondarchuk manipulated that to artificially inflate the value of their cards. They would duplicate the card stock used to signify the ratings of cards and go around to different pawn shops to sell the cards. Apparently, they were also selling cards directly to personal collectors, racking up a total of around $2 million in the process.

Where the duo made their biggest mistake was in the sale of a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card. Sold at an auction in Manhattan for $171,700 with a PSA grade of 10 (which is considered Mint), the PSA caught wind of the sale and notified the auction house that it had not graded that specific card. This process had been going on for two years with the duo sometimes getting caught and refunding buyers only to then tweak the grading and resell the bogus cards.

Needless to say, Curcio and Bondarchuk are in a bit of hot water right now. While not convicted of their crimes yet, the duo are each facing a potential of 20 years in prison for “conspiracy to commit wire fraud.” All of this after Curcio seemingly turned his life around after serving time for robbing a bank and assaulting an armed guard in 2008. I guess the allure of fast cash was too much to resist.

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Written by Peter Glagowski

Peter has been a freelance gaming and film critic for over seven years. His passion for Nintendo is only matched by the size of his collection.