Washington State Men Arrested in $2 Million Sports Cards Fraud

Two men from Washington state, Anthony Curcio and Iosif Bondarchuk, have recently found themselves in hot water after being arrested and charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charges were a result of their involvement in a fraudulent scheme that revolved around the sale of sports and Pokémon cards, raking in a whopping $2 million from unsuspecting buyers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York formally announced the charges against Curcio, 43, from Redmond, and Bondarchuk, 37, from Lake Stevens. According to the authorities, the duo engaged in deceptive practices between 2022 and May 2024 to sell these cards. The crux of their scheme involved swapping lower-grade cards with cases that falsely presented them as top-tier PSA 10 specimens, thereby inflating their market values significantly.

A standout among the fraudulent items sold was a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card, which was deceitfully passed off as gem mint and fetched a hefty sum of $171,000 through an online marketplace in Manhattan. However, the selling platform, MySlabs, later exposed the card as fraudulent and promptly reported the issue to PSA and law enforcement. Other misrepresented cards included a 2009 Topps rookie card of Stephen Curry and a 1980 Topps card showcasing Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Julius Erving.

The scope of the fraud wasn’t limited to sports cards alone; Pokémon cards were also part of the scheme. In a particularly brazen move, a 1999 first-edition Venusaur card was sold to an undercover law enforcement officer in Manhattan for $10,500, falsely labeled as PSA 10.

Curcio and Bondarchuk are alleged to have peddled these deceitful cards at various venues, including card shops, shows, and online auctions. When buyers raised concerns about the authenticity of their purchases, Bondarchuk reportedly misled them by furnishing false contact information, attributing it to third parties.

If found guilty, both men could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The FBI and PSA’s Brand Protection division worked in tandem during the investigation, underscoring the dedication to safeguarding collectors and preserving the integrity of the trading card market.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance in the field of collectibles and cautions individuals against partaking in fraudulent activities similar to those orchestrated by Curcio and Bondarchuk.