Arkansas man busted for fake Heisman Trophy scam
Arkansas sports memorabilia collector John Rogers days of passing off a replica Heisman Trophy as the one won by Oklahoma great Billy Sims in 1978 are over, and now he’s looking at prison time. Rogers pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud on Monday in a federal court in Chicago, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.
In September, authorities accused Rogers of altering an honorary Heisman Trophy given to announcer Al Helfer, who served as the trophy presentation’s MC for more than 20 years, in 1960 to make it look like the trophy won by Sims in 1978. Rogers then used the trophy as collateral on a $100,000 loan.
He changed the nameplate to Sims and created a fake authenticity later, but missed some key details on the trophy itself:
Rogers swapped out the trophy’s nameplate but ignored a dent on the left side of its base, as well as scratches and other marks. He also failed to replace a missing screw from the original nameplate, court records show.
While Rogers scammed investors, banks and customers out of $10 million according to the article, federal prosecutors are expected to recommend a sentence of only eight years due to his cooperation in helping them investigate Doug Allen, the former president of sports memorabilia auction house Mastro Auctions. Allen was sentenced last year to 57 months in prison for his role in a scam involving phony memorabilia.