Notorious bank robber accused of defrauding Pokemon card collectors of $2 million

A former bank robber who stole $400,000 in an elaborate 2008 cash truck robbery has been charged with Pokémon Card fraud.

Back in 2008, athlete-turned-gangster Anthony Curcio pepper-sprayed an armored car guard and escaped with nearly $500,000 on an inner tube down a creek.

Curcio served five years in prison, during which time he wrote and illustrated more than 20 children's books. Despite appearing “reformed” and spending time in school talking about how drugs lead to a criminal lifestyle, Curcio seems to be back to his old tricks…sort of.

Curcio, 43, and his co-conspirator, Iosif Bondarchu, 37, were charged after defrauding sports and Pokemon card collectors out of $2 million, Fox 13 reported.

Curcio and Bondaccio are accused of selling the cards at significantly inflated prices by misrepresenting their grades and their true value. The pair allegedly sold the cards at Manhattan markets and local stores.

Curcio reportedly ordered materials for counterfeit card boxes and labels, misrepresenting the actual value of the cards.

The pair made a critical mistake and seemed overconfident in their plan. In 2022, the pair allegedly sold a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan #57 rookie card for $170,000, claiming it was graded 10. Between $6,000 and $7,000.

This came to the attention of the Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA), who worked with the FBI to track down the two men, who had been using the pseudonyms “Brendan Wooley” and “Joe Bondarchuk.”

In 2023, the pair attempted to sell distorted 1999 Charizard and Bulbasaur cards. In 2023, an undercover police officer purchased Venusaur for $10,500.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “It is alleged that Anthony Curcio and Iosif Bondarchuk conducted a brazen, nationwide fraud scheme involving valuable sporting events and Pokemon trading cards in order to deceive buyers and the market, ultimately amassing over $2 million through fraudulent and attempted sales.

Curcio and Bondarchu were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud and could face 20 years in prison if convicted.

Over the years, as the value of collectibles has increased, there have been numerous crimes related to Pokémon cards. In 2022, a 62-year-old man's massive $500,000 collection was even stolen from his estate.

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