Infamous bank robber charged with scamming Pokemon card collectors out of $2M

Michael Gwilliam
fake charizard and venusaur pokemon cards

A former bank robber who stole $400,000 in an elaborate armored car heist back in 2008 has been charged with a Pokemon card scam.

Back in 2008, athlete-turned-robber Anthony Curcio pepper-sprayed an armored car guard and escaped with nearly half a million dollars, and got away by heading down a creek in an inner tube.

Curcio spent five years in jail where he wrote and illustrated over 20 children’s books. Despite appearing “reformed” and spending time speaking at schools about how drugs can result in a criminal lifestyle, Curcio appears to have returned to his old tricks… sort of.

According to Fox 13, the 43-year-old Curcio and his alleged accomplice, 37-year-old Iosif Bondarchu have been charged after scamming sports and Pokemon card collectors out of $2M.

Curcio and Bondarchu are accused of selling cards for greatly inflated prices by misrepresenting the rating of the cards and their true value. The two allegedly sold the cards on Manhattan Marketplace and local shops.

It’s reported that Curcio had ordered materials to forge cases and labels that misrepresent the actual worth of a card.

The two made one major mistake and appeared overconfident with their plan. In 2022, the duo allegedly sold a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan #57 rookie card for $170K and claimed it had a rating of 10. In actuality, it was rated 8, putting its true market value between $6K and $7K.

This caught the attention of Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) who worked with the FBI in tracking down the two, who had been using the fake names of “Brendan Wooley” and “Joe Bondarchuk.”

In 2023, the two tried to sell misrepresented 1999 Charizard and Venusaur cards. In 2023, an undercover officer purchased the Venusaur for $10,500.

“As alleged, Anthony Curcio and Iosif Bondarchuk carried out a brazen, nationwide fraud scheme involving valuable sports and Pokemon trading cards to deceive buyers and marketplaces, ultimately amassing over $2 million in fraudulent and attempted sales,” US Attorney Damian Williams said.

Both Curcio and Bondarchu are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud and could face 20 years in jail if convicted.

Over the years, there have been many Pokemon card-related crimes as the collectibles continue to increase in value. In 2022, a 62-year-old man even had his massive $500,000 collection stolen from his property.

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