On 1 November 2022, Tulsa Police Department apprehended an Oklahoma man suspected of selling fake Pokémon cards to buyers on Craigslist. The man, Michael McCoy, allegedly racked up over $12,000 by selling rare fake "collectors cards" but was eventually caught in a sting operation. He was charged with five counts of Obtaining Merchandise by False Pretense over $1,000 and one counts of Violation of Trademark under the Anti-Counterfeiting Act.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, Tulsa Police Department provided a public briefing noting that they had been investigating the fraudulent Pokémon card scam "for the past several months."' Accordingly, five victims from various parts of the United States (including Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and Ohio) lodged reports stating that they'd been scammed out of "thousands of dollars" after purchasing fake "rare and high-value Pokémon cards."
However, the suspect was finally apprehended in a joint effort with Hawaii victim and Pokémon card collector Riley Bennet, who was allegedly robbed of $3,000. Bennet agreed to work with the police using a fake number to trick McCoy and catch him in the act. McCoy was subsequently arrested at a local Post Office while attempting to mail out the fraudulent Pokémon cards to other victims.
In their statement, the Tulsa Police Department said, "During the investigation, Detectives partnered with a special prosecutor with the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office, who specializes in intellectual property and trademark infringement. Through collaborations with Nintendo Corporation, a representative determined that the Pokémon cards were, in fact, counterfeit."
McCoy's fraudulent operation involved listing "rare collectors cards" on the classified advertisements website Craiglist for $350 per card. However, "the cards that were sold by the suspect had little to no value on their own." The police further noted that McCoy also had warrants for his arrest out of Arkansas and concluded their statement by stating, "this is an arrest, not a conviction."
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Featured image courtesy of the Tulsa Police Department via Facebook.