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October 20, 2022Lansing, MI, United StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

Michigan man sentenced 30 months for selling counterfeit sports cards, following HSI investigation

LANSING, Mich. — A North Shores resident was sentenced to prison for selling counterfeit baseball cards, Oct. 18. Chief U.S. District Judge Hala Y. Jarbou sentenced Bryan Kennert, 57, to 30 months in prison for selling $43,354.94 of antique baseball that he falsely represented as original and unopened card packs.

The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigation determined the packs were opened, had the valuable cards removed, and were resealed to look like new, unopened packs. Kennert has engaged in schemes to sell fake sports cards and packs for at least 30 years. Federal agents also found fake sports cards at his home that would have been worth $7.3 million if authentic.

“I commend the hard work of our HSI Grand Rapids special agents in pursuing this case and bringing this fraudster to justice,” said HSI Detroit Special Agent in Charge Angie Salazar. “We will continue to dismantle these schemes, wherever we find them, to protect hard-working Americans. We encourage all members of our community to remain vigilant and scrutinize deals that seem too good to be true.”

Between April and October 2019, a couple purchased $43,354.94 of baseball card packs from Kennert that they later learned were tampered with. The couple met Kennert after visiting an antique store in Muskegon where they saw packs of baseball cards that were listed for sale as original and unopened. The couple researched the packs, determined the price was a bargain, and met with Kennert eight times from April to October 2019 to purchase packs. When the couple went to have the packs authenticated and checked for condition, they were told the packs were resealed and nearly worthless.

After learning of the fraud, federal agents executed a search warrant at Kennert’s home. There, they found fake cards that would have been worth $7.3 million, alongside supplies to make fake card packs. Agents interviewed Kennert, who admitted making around $100,000 a year selling fake cards and packs.

“Kennert exploited unsuspecting victims for 30 years,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “Consumers should have confidence that the products they buy are the real thing. My office will continue its hard work to root out consumer fraud.”

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Davin M. Reust.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Learn more about HSI’s mission @HSIDetroit.

Updated: 10/20/2022