SOME victims of an eBay memorabilia fraudster may never be compensated as they are unable to be traced.

Anthony McCabe sold 876 sports shirts supposedly signed by the stars who wore them, between 2014 and 2018.

They were accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity, to give an air of legitimacy, purporting they were the actual shirts worn by the players claimed by McCabe.

Durham Crown Court heard they were shirts he collected over several years and he simply added the fake signature by marker pen.

The company national sales manager’s illicit sideline came to light after a complaint by an eBay customer over the sale of memorabilia bearing fake autographs, in February 2018.

A Durham County Council trading standards inquiry revealed the full extent of McCabe’s illegal activities.

The 38-year-old defendant, of Durham Road, Spennymoor, admitted two counts of fraud and one of transferring criminal property for sums amounting.

Judge Ray Singh deferred sentence to give McCabe the chance to raise the £60,500 to compensate the conned customers.

On his return to court, in May, the hearing was told he had met the target by re-mortgaging his home.

Describing it as, “mean and nasty”, Judge Singh told McCabe: “these shirts were fake and you played on the goodwill and generosity of genuine people, who thought they were buying genuine items, extending over a significant time.”

The judge imposed a 20-month sentence, suspended for two years, with 80-hours’ unpaid work, and a two-month 8pm to 6am home curfew.

On top of the £60,500 compensation he was also ordered to pay £1,322 costs.

The case returned to court as it was noted that while the compensation money has been deposited with the court, not all victims of the fraud have been traced.

Although the defendant assisted the prosecution by passing on a spread sheet with as many details of his ‘customers’, it has not been possible to identify all of the victims.

The court heard about 70-per cent of the victims identified by McCabe could be traced by postal addresses and email details, but other orders went out via shipping companies.

Should it prove impossible to trace the unidentified victims their element of the compensation will go to public funds.


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