Looking for a way to help? Donate to the families of Officer John Hetland and Officer Kou Her

Long-time sports memorabilia collector becomes fraud victim

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Collecting sports memorabilia is big business these days -- but how do you know if you're getting the real deal? Before you buy a fake, FOX6's Contact 6 says it's important to know what can happen.

Baseball is America's popular past-time, and like most sports, baseball has generated a memorabilia business worth billions.

"I consider myself very knowledgeable about what a real one and a fake one is," Mark Mench said.

Mench has been an autograph collector for 30 years, and is very confident he can spot a fake. However, his batting average took a hit recently.

"A Steve Prefontaine autograph you almost never see. So, he advertised for things that almost everyone would be interested in who collects what I collect," Mench said.

The "he" Mench is referring to is Carl Myer.

"The way he fooled me is because - how he spoke. He knew dealers, he knew the business, he knew basically everything I knew about autographs and I`ve collected 30 years," Mench said.

Based on these conversations, Mench bought several items -- cards for Roberto Clemente, Steve Prefontaine and Mel Ott.

"When the autographs came, I did recognize them as fake immediately and I tried to return them. I attempted to contact him. He actually threatened my life if I came near him and basically I was left holding the bag," Mench said.

"Several sports collectors filed a mail fraud complaint with USPIS claiming they bought forged autographs," U.S. Postal Inspector Ryan Amstone said.

Mench was one of 56 victims who paid Myer more than $74,000 for items.

"A lot of the victims submitted those autographs to professional sports authenticators who confirmed they were in fact forgeries," Amstone said.

Postal inspectors say when Mench filed a complaint, they already had a file started on Myer.

"Using the mail was his undoing," Mench said.

Myer was prosecuted in federal court on mail fraud charges and is serving a two-year prison sentence now.

"I`m glad he paid a price because I`m sure he fooled more people besides me. I feel like I`m a person who would be hard to fool. It`s the first time in 30 years I`ve been fooled," Mench said.

Myer was also ordered to pay more than $65,000 back.

Contact 6 says the best way to make sure you're not getting a fake is to seek out an athlete yourself, and ask for the autograph.

1 Comment

  • Fredric

    Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to
    know your situation; we have developed some nice methods and we are
    looking to trade strategies with others, please shoot me an e-mail if

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.