September 16, 2016
By Bob Coleman
Editor, Fraud Friday
Lenders duped with fraudulent collateral by borrowers is not new. Some fake financial statements and AR borrowing bases. Some fake car titles. Some fake cow herd counts.
And one enterprising fraudster faked a Heisman trophy.
Prosecutors say sports memorabilia huckster John Rogers borrowed $100,000 with a fake Billy Sims Heisman trophy.
To create the fake Heisman, John apparently thought he could just swap out the nameplate on a “poor man’s Heisman” he had bought years earlier — a trophy given to a man who served as a master of ceremonies for the Heisman banquet for more than 20 years.
John purchased that trophy for $42,500 in an auction in 2009.
He then swapped out the names and forged a letter from Sims verifying the trophy’s authenticity. But, he ignored the dent on the left side of the trophy base, the scratches and other marks. He didn’t even bother to replace the missing screw from the original nameplate — mistakes that eventually tripped him up says the government.
A private investor funded the $100,000 loan.
John is not new to fraud allegations.
First Arkansas Bank & Trust of Jacksonville and Bank of Little Rock have been victims of John’s phony sports memorabilia collateral in funding almost $5 million of loans in 2013 says the feds.