TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa Police Department [TPD] arrested Michael McCoy after the Tulsa County DA charged him with four counts of false pretense under $1000 or con game.
“In March, we started receiving reports from victims who were all located outside of Tulsa,” said Lt. Andrew Weeden with the Tulsa Police Financial Crimes.
Police say a four-month investigation revealed McCoy was selling fake Pokémon cards to victims all through the U.S. including Arizona, Colorado Ohio, Texas and Hawaii. Police got multiple reports and started connecting the dots.
“They received Pokémon cards in the mail that they had purchased through craigslist ads that were fake,” said Lt. Weeden. “We looked into this suspect and found that he has had a past record of various fraud type of offenses.”
Lt. Weeden says that McCoy was able to scam people out of 10-12 thousand dollars, by selling these fabricated Pokémon cards.
Eventually, TPD worked with one of the victims, Riley Bennett who is from Hawaii to coordinate an arrest of McCoy.
Bennett says he bought around 3 thousand dollars worth of fake cards from McCoy.
“Everything looked absolutely flawless like really good to me. And he was very communicative, taking pictures of time stamps, willing to video chat with me,” said Bennett. “I ended up eventually just like ok sending the money and trusting the person. It was instant that I knew, these are terrible quality these are totally fraudulent, like absolutely without a doubt. “Like I said not my best moment, but I was being very trustworthy. I was very excited to receive these packs.”
He knew where they were mailed from so he reported it to Tulsa Police.
Bennett says he set up a fake number to trick McCoy into selling him cards again.
Police then arrested McCoy when he went to the post office to mail the cards out.
“Being able to have that justice finally fulfilled and pass that on to the other victims is the icing on the cake. It’s such a relief honestly,” said Bennett.
Pokémon cards can be expensive, costing anywhere from $200 to thousands of dollars.
Warren Green is the store manager of Wizards Asylum Comics & Games in east Tulsa, where they sell Pokémon cards.
“The most expensive card that we’ve ever sold in the store is about 4 thousand,” said Green. “Most of the more expensive cards that we usually sell are in the 2 to 3 hundred dollar range.”
When it comes to spotting the fake Pokémon cards Green says, “We get those cards in here occasionally, we can usually spot them very quickly and we don’t buy them.”
To avoid purchasing fake collective cards Green suggests, “When buying on the internet always check - make sure they’re a reputable vendor.”
Experts say real cards are textured and it’s easy to spot a fake in person but spotting one online could be tricky and buyers need to use caution.
Court records indicate McCoy will face his charges here and then go to Arkansas where he’s wanted on unrelated drug charges, including possession of fentanyl.
“As far as I’m concerned this is probably the first fraudulent Pokémon card case that the Tulsa police department has dealt with,” said Lt. Weeden.
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