William Mastro, owner of an auction house business that operated out of Oak Brook, Burr Ridge and Willowbrook, pleaded guilty Thursday to fraud. According to Trib Local Palos:
The former owner of a west suburban sports auction house pleaded guilty today to fraudulently inflating prices and misrepresenting the value of memorabilia, including a 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card that he had secretly altered to make it appear in better condition.
“Guilty, your honor,” William Mastro, 60, of Palos Park, said in a low voice as he entered his plea to one count of mail fraud before U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman.
Mastro faces up to 5 years in prison, but federal prosecutors said they will recommend a prison sentence of 2 ½ years for Mastro, citing his cooperation with authorities, including his possible testimony against co-defendants awaiting trial.
The guilty plea comes six months after Guzman rejected a similar deal that capped the sentence he could give at 2 ½ years.
Mastro, who operated an online auction house that billed itself as the world's leading seller of sports and Americana collectibles, was indicted last summer with three former company executives in a fraud scheme that prosecutors said lasted more than eight years. The multimillion-dollar firm operated from offices in suburban Oak Brook, Willowbrook and Burr Ridge at various times but has since closed.