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Joshua Aaron Shores, 41, of Bel Air, Maryland and also of Ocean City, Maryland, was charged with Wire Fraud in a Criminal Information filed Friday in the United States District Court in Scranton, PA.  He’s agreed to plead guilty.According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Shores bought unlicensed replica jerseys from China, along with mini helmets, balls and other items.  Prosecutors say he then affixed phony autographs and sold them in large quantities online in a scheme that ran from  2008 to 2013.

Shores is alleged to have created, owned, and operated internet businesses under the names of Dealakhan, LLC, Stadium Authentics, Autograph Showcase, Sunset Beach, End Game Sports, Authenticgraph, and others with facilities in York County, Pennsylvania and in Maryland.

Investigators believe Shores unlawfully obtained approximately $2.5 million from buyers before the businesses were shut down. Prosecution is seeking forfeiture of real property located in Ocean City, Maryland, approximately $140,000 in Shores’ bank accounts, and an additional amount of $26,000 in proceeds related to a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a sports utility vehicle. The government will also seek restitution for victims of the fraud scheme..

A federal agent, working undercover and in cooperation with league officials, made a purchase through Shores’ Stadium Authentics website of what was described as an authentic jersey with a “hand signed” autograph.  What the agent received was merchandise that was determined to be counterfeit, which constituted wire fraud.

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  • Did you purchase anything from this scammer?  Amazon notified it's customers that if you purchased from Shores’ businesses.  In emails to customers, Amazon listed Autograph Showcase, End Game Sports, NC Sports Devils, Sunset Beach, and Tampa Bay Collectibles, all of which once had a presence on its website.  Amazon indicates if you did buy they invite you to contact the law enforcement agencies directly,” the email to Amazon customers reads.  “If you choose to do so, you may email the law enforcement agents handling this matter at USAvSHORES@ice.dhs.gov, specifying your name, address, telephone number, and the details of your purchase(s) from the above-referenced third-party entities. The law enforcement agencies have requested that any emails be sent by March 11, 2016.

    Obviously, the Feds are trying to determine how wide the scam went as well as determine if they will ask for restitution.  A sentencing date for Shores has not been set.

    According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Shores bought unlicensed replica jerseys from China, along with mini helmets, balls and other items, affixed non-genuine autographs of sports stars and sold them online.  Investigators believe Shores took in approximately $2.5 million from buyers before the businesses were shut down.

    Prosecutors say Shores used mailbox receiving services as his business address, created and registered PayPal and Amazon.com accounts in his name and in the names of others in order to receive payments from customers.   He included “certificates of authenticity” with the phony signed items.

    The reply customers receive once they submit an e-mail indicates that “Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania is currently conducting a criminal investigation.”  That reply questions information about specific purchases users made with Shores’ online businesses.

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