CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained exclusive video taking you inside the investigation into a man selling autographed pictures of sports stars during a recent national collectors show at the I-X Center.
The video has just been released to the I-Team. It shows why Cleveland police seized piles of merchandise investigators suspected to be counterfeit.
As officers approach Tony Podsada, he says, “All of these autographs are authentic. But I don’t sell ‘em as authentic. I sell them as decorative items.”
Police say they’d gotten complaints “something’s wrong” with the merchandise. So they took some photos to a group of experts in a back area of the I-X Center. A man there can be heard telling police, “None of ‘em are real. All of ‘em are bad fakes.”
Podsada argued, “In our opinion, they are real. They’ve been looked at by our experts.”
The I-Team tracked him down by phone. He says he operates a business called Signed Certified Memories. He adds, he sells at super cheap prices, so people shouldn’t think they’re getting originals.
But we asked about signs at his booth saying,” IN THE OPINION OF THE EXPERTS AT SCM ALL SIGNATURES ARE AUTHENTIC.”
Podsada responded by saying, “We had just set up, so I don’t know what signage was out yet, to be honest with you.”
He also said, “What I tell people is these are actual signatures. But we were not there at the time of signing. So I will not sell them as original signatures.”
No charges have been filed yet. Cleveland police have not yet taken the case to a grand jury. Multiple sources confirm police here are also talking to other investigators in other parts of the country.
So is what we heard from Podsada double-talk? A crime? Simply a smart sales pitch? The answer may be decided in a courtroom after more eyes look over the autographed pictures.