Spalding/NYPL
McGreevy/BPL
Baseball Hall of Fame
Wills fakes & Frauds
RECOVERED
ITEMS/ARTIFACTS

Welcome to Hauls of Shame
This site is dedicated to investigative reporting related to the soon-to-be published book, Hauls of Shame. While the book deals with the wide ranging problems of fraud and corruption in the baseball collectibles and auction industries, its primary focus is on the mysteries of the considerable thefts of rare, historical baseball artifacts from the collections of the New York Public Library, Boston Public Library and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Hauls of Shame publishes breaking news, book excerpts, original essays and interviews with historians and those familiar with the investigations that have spurred earnest recovery efforts by the FBI, individual collectors and institutions. We offer an educational resource for the baseball collecting and research communities as the investigations yield evidence of items both suspected or confirmed as missing from the research archives of: NYPL's "Spalding Baseball Collection;" BPL's "McGreevey Baseball Picture Collection;" and the HOF's "August Herrmann Papers Collection."

Breaking News
Mastro Sentencing Postponed As Theotikos Set For Guilty Plea; Plea Agreement Details Shill-Bidding Scheme; Victim Says Auction Was “Screwing” Collectors

By Peter J. Nash
July 18, 2014

Bill Mastro leaves a Chicago courthouse after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud tied to a massive shill-bidding scheme (Chicago Tribune Photo)

When former hobby kingpin Bill Mastro appeared in a Chicago Federal courthouse last October and plead guilty to one count of mail fraud, his plea agreement included details of the auction house improprieties which contributed to his possible five-year sentence in a Federal prison.  Mastro was scheduled to be sentenced last December, but papers filed in court postponed the sentencing until June when it was again pushed off until October.  Mastro’s co-defendant, Mark Theotikos, was also scheduled to change his plea to guilty in June but on Wednesday his hearing was again postponed from July 28th to August 6th when he is expected to enter a guilty plea.  Mastro’s other co-defendant, Doug Allen, is scheduled for trial in September.

Mastro’s plea agreement stipulates that he must cooperate with the Government in its case against his co-defendants but it also details the elaborate shill-bidding scheme that prosecutors allege Mastro and his employees engaged in from 2002 to 2009 at Mastro Auctions.

In Mastro’s plea agreement, filed on October 10, 2013, by Judge Ronald Guzman in the United States District Court of Northern Illinois, the government states that Mastro has admitted his guilt and that he and his employees Doug Allen and Mark Theotikos and others unnamed “knowingly devised and intended to devise, and participated in, a scheme and artifice to defraud the customers of Mastro Auctions, and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent practices.” Mastro, as the CEO of Mastro Auctions, admits to misrepresenting and deceiving bidders and to misrepresenting his auction house as a company that “always conducted competitive auctions” and that “greater market demand existed for some items sold by the auction house than actually was the case.”

The plea agreement also alleges that Mastro’s co-defendants Allen and Theotikos and others “engaged in practices designed to protect the interests of consignors and sellers which had the effect of artificially inflating the prices paid by some bidders.”  The court papers describe how Mastro and his associates “placed shill bids, meaning fictitious bids placed without the intent to win the item, which had the effect of artificially inflating the price of an item in the auction.” Mastro says that in doing so he believed that this practice “attracted more bidders” and also protected consignors items from realizing “a sales price below an item’s estimated market value.” Mastro admitted that the shill-bidding scheme “stimulated bidding and increas(ed) the number of bidders” as well as inflating prices “resulting in bidders likely paying more for an item than what they otherwise would have paid.”

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CHIN MUSIC: NY Daily News & O’Keeffe Off-Base In Nash-Bash; A Suspect Mickey Sig On Esken’s Mantle Glove; Goldin Says 1916 Ruth Contract Is Missing; Ty Cobb Fakes Still Fooling Spence & PSA/DNA
By Peter J. Nash July 11, 2014 Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News (top left) published another inaccurate report; Ken Goldin (bottom left) is offering several suspect items in his Babe Ruth anniversary auction. -The New York Daily News I-Team and Michael O’Keeffe devoted a full page of newspaper coverage to [...]
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Operation Bambino: Investigation Reveals PSA & Spence Authenticated Babe Ruth Fakes For Past 15 Years; Experts Say Forgery-Ring Created $44,000 HOF Plaque & $75,000 Signed Bat (Part 6) (UPDATE)
By Peter J. Nash June 18, 2014 (Scroll to Bottom for Update) It’s been 100 years since Babe Ruth made his debut in a Major League uniform but he remains the most revered athlete in American sports history.  The “Bambino” is still so popular that collectors are shelling out millions of dollars and [...]
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Grad & Spence Authenticated A Modern Replica Ball As Grey Flannel’s Premier Ruth & Gehrig Signed Ball; Autographs Are Facsimiles Of Forgeries But Russek Still Selling Fake (UPDATE)
By Peter J. Nash June 12, 2014 Jimmy Spence and Steve Grad authenticated a modern replica ball as a Ruth-Gehrig original in Richard Russek's current Grey Flannel sale. (For UPDATES scroll to bottom) If Grey Flannel and Rich Russek needed some additional information to pull the bogus Babe Ruth-Lou Gehrig ball appearing as a [...]
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Yankee-Fakers: Jimmy Spence & The JSA-Authenticated 1927 Murderers’ Row Forgeries; Grey Flannel’s Premier Lot & Ruth-Gehrig Ball Are A Murderers’-Ruse (UPDATE)
By Peter J. Nash June 2, 2014 UPDATE (June 11th): Grey Flannel has not removed the bogus c.1928 Ruth-Gehrig ball from its current “Summer Games” auction.  The ball has failed to receive an opening bid at the reserve price of $7,500.  The alleged 1927 New York Yankees signed photo, which has [...]
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The World’s Fastest-Pitched Balls Or Just Two More Halper Curves? Alleged Ryan & Feller Record Breakers Pulled By Goldin Re-Appear At LOTG Auction
By Peter J. Nash May 27, 2014 Two historic baseballs purported to have broken records as the “world’s fastest pitch” once withdrawn from a 2013 auction because of authenticity issues are now back on the market at Love of The Game Auctions in New Jersey. The auction house states that [...]
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The Case Of The Missing Honus Wagner: How Did A Hall Of Fame Letter Protesting An Ump’s Call In 1911 Slide Into A Heritage Auction?
By Peter J. Nash May 13, 2014 A letter signed by Honus Wagner is a key piece of evidence documenting thefts from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It’s no secret that national treasures have been smuggled out of the archives of the Baseball Hall of Fame in the sleepy little Village of [...]
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Anyone with information that can aid the recovery efforts
 may contact us at:
tips@haulsofshame.com

 We also suggest that those with important information regarding the thefts from the
BPL, NYPL and Hall of Fame collections contact the FBI at:
(For BPL: Boston@ic.fbi.gov)
(For NYPL: ny1@ic.fbi.gov )
(For Hall of Fame contact the FBI's Albany, NY office at 518-465-7551)

The services of Hauls of Shame and Peter J. Nash as a consultant and expert are available to collectors, auction houses, institutions, legal representatives and law enforcement. 
To inquire about details contact us at: info@haulsofshame.com