CLEVELAND (WJW) – Charges have now been dropped after a big investigation into collector’s items with autographs of sports stars and signatures believed to be fake.
So, the FOX 8 I-Team investigated why.
In short, a man faced going to prison for selling sports souvenirs believed to be counterfeit, but he can now go on to the next collectors’ show.
The case began with a raid at a national sports memorabilia convention held three years ago at the I-X Center.
Cleveland Police video obtained by the I-Team showed investigators hauling away piles of autographed pictures and more.
You see Anthony Podsada turn to an officer from behind a dealer’s table and ask, “What questions you got?”
The officer responds with, “I have a lot of questions for you.”
The video shows experts calling out the collectibles seized as being counterfeit. One says, “None of them are real. All of them are bad fakes.”
Now, after all this time, charges have been dropped.
The I-Team called Podsada at his home in Florida. He told us he’d planned to keep fighting until he cleared his name.
“I did nothing wrong. I did not lie. They’re not copies,” he said. “They kept trying to get me to plead guilty to something and I wouldn’t. I wanted to go to trial.”
An indictment filed in Cuyahoga County Court shows more than two dozen charges. Most of them are felonies.
So, how did this case go from all of that to nothing?
Court records show Podsada had to pay back one customer $300 and the city kept a dozen autographed pictures of sports stars.
Still, Podsada got back everything else and all charges were dropped.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office released a statement.
Spokesman Tyler Sinclair wrote, “In this particular case, the defendant paid full restitution of $300 to the victim. The victim, who lives in Louisiana, was content with that resolution. After balancing all interests in this case, we felt this was an appropriate resolution.”
Still, we went back to the heart of the case.
“That can’t all be legit autographed material, right?” the I-Team asked Podsada.
He answered, “Why not? I sell them as decorative items because I was not present while each one was actually signed.”
Despite all of this, you might see Podsada as a dealer at another show.
“I’m still going to sell the same way as I sell all the time.”
The case dragged out for three years, in part, due to court delays tied to COVID-19.