Card Show Promoter Sentenced in Tax-Fraud Case
NEW YORK (AP) _ A baseball card show promoter whose payments to star players prompted a federal tax investigation was sentenced to 14 months in prison on tax-fraud charges.
Michael Bertolini admitted that he paid nearly $250,000 in cash to a lineup of baseball legends, Hall of Fame centerfielder Duke Snider, at a 1989 autograph show in Atlantic City.
Snider, who played for the Dodgers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, and Willie McCovey, former San Francisco Giants first baseman, have pleaded guilty to tax-fraud charges for not reporting tens of thousands of dollars each in fees they collected at Atlantic City and similar shows.
Snider was sentenced to two years on probation. McCovey is to be sentenced next month.
Among the other Hall of Famers who appeared at his shows were Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Frank Robinson.
Bertolini, 30, a New Yorker had pleaded guilty to tax-fraud conspiracy. In federal District Court in Brooklyn on Friday, he appealed for leniency, describing a troubled youth and a career as a baseball memorabilia dealer and promoter that dated to his teen-age years.
Along the way, he befriended all-time hit leader Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds and soon his business took off.
But his fantasy of mingling with big-league players turned to fraud when he engaged in tax-fraud schemes with players at various autograph shows, failing to report earnings to the Internal Revenue Service, prosecutors told Judge Edward R. Korman.
He was sentenced to the maximum 14 months in prison and three years of probation.
Bertolini also faces sentencing in connection with an assault against his former partner in the Atlantic City show.