FBI Arrests Two Men for Forging $2 Million of PSA Graded Pokemon and Sports Cards

The FBI has announced charges against two Washington men accused of forging PSA graded Pokemon and sports cards, resulting in over $2 million in losses for victims across the United States. The pair have been charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted, both charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

From at least 2022 to May 2024, the FBI alleges that Anthony Curcio, 43, and Iosif Bondarchuk, 37, altered or forged PSA labels to make cards appear to have higher grades. The pair used fake identities to sell the slabs at card shops, auctions, card shows, and online marketplaces. Even after the pair were informed their slabs were fake, they continued to sell them.

In July 2023, an undercover law enforcement officer purchased a fake PSA 10 Venusaur from Curcio for $10,500. (Previously, Bondarchuk had attempted to sell the same Venusaur.) Once the law officer wired the money to Curio’s bank account, the card was shipped out. This transaction constituted wire fraud, or knowingly defrauding a victim of money.

As part of their investigation, the FBI discovered that “Curcio ordered various items needed to create forged card cases and labels. The items included various card grading cases, thermal transfer barcode labels, a magnifier loupe optical glass, a handheld inkjet printer, a lock-cutting kit, an electric grinding pen, an abrasive buffer and polishing wheel, an abrasive and bristle brushes, and drill bits designed for engraving.”

In a statement on Twitter, PSA said its Brand Protection division worked with the FBI during the investigation.

“It is an important step forward for the hobby as a whole when operations like this one are rooted out and dismantled by the justice system,” the company stated. “PSA is focused on making sure its holders, labels, processes, and technology are continuously evolving to stay ahead of the bad actors in the hobby.”

GameStop recently announced a partnership with PSA to buy and sell graded Pokemon cards.