Edmonton police warn Oilers fans of jerseys sold with forged Connor McDavid autographs
|National Post 18 Jul 2019 at 15:23|
EDMONTON — An alleged fraud scheme featuring hockey jerseys with forged Connor McDavid signatures has an unknown number of victims, Edmonton police said Thursday, as they asked the public for more information on a swindle that caught up at least five people and cost one person more than $20,000.
Chandra Vinesh Singh, 23, is facing two charges of possession of a forged document, fraud over $5,000, fraud under $5,000 and false pretence.
Police allege he was the mastermind behind a scheme that included fraudulent documents to back up the purported validity of the signed jerseys. Police have not determined if the actual jerseys were authentic, but say the signatures were definitely faked.
Edmonton police first became aware of the scheme in Spring 2018, when they discovered a man — claiming to be an employee of the Edmonton Oilers Entertainment Group or Pro Am Sports, a memorabilia store — selling autographed McDavid jerseys, Const. Derek Burns said.
Police think two jerseys were sold to one citizen for $1,400.
McDavid, the 22-year-old Oilers captain, verified the signatures on the jersey were not, in fact, his own, Burns said.
Signed McDavid jerseys are highly prized among collectors and sports fans, selling for $1,599 on the Pro Am Sports website; there aren’t any other players’ names involved, so far.
By February 2019, police say, the scheme had shifted.
“These people, they trusted, or they just decided that this sounded like a good opportunity, and they went for it,” Burns said.
Singh allegedly offered to sell the jerseys for $350 each, and told the victims that they could sell them on for double the price to purchasers that Singh had already lined up, Burns said. One victim “invested” $23,000, Singh said.
Those jerseys, and the return on investment, never materialized.
There are at least three other known victims, Burns said, without giving details about what they had purchased. Police believe that more people may have been caught up in the scheme.
“I honestly don’t know how many people may have purchased, and that’s why I’m here today,” Burns said. “If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably might be too good to be true.”
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