October 3, 2011 / 8:50 PM / in 7 years

Celebrity autographs forger pleads guilty in Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo (Reuters) - A Missouri man who peddled more than 1,200 record album covers and sports memorabilia items with forged signatures plead guilty to fraud charges in federal court on Monday.

David Bruce Shryock, 49, used eight different eBay accounts to defraud victims of more than $175,000, according to charges filed in federal court in Springfield, Missouri. One example cited in a plea agreement was the sale of the Van Halen album, “5150,” bearing what Shyrock falsely claimed were the artists’ autographs, for a winning eBay bid of $177.

Shryock, of Joplin, Missouri, allegedly avoided detection by opening new eBay and PayPal accounts when old ones were suspended. He used names of other persons to create accounts and then cut them a share of the proceeds, according to the charges.

Prosecutors say Shryock carried out his scheme for almost six years, through last December. He plead guilty Monday to wire fraud and illegal possession of a firearm.

On December 15, 2010, police patrol officers caught Shryock burglarizing a lawyer’s office in Joplin and gave chase. He drove his car off a cliff, bailed out and was arrested after a foot chase, according to the plea agreement.

A 9mm pistol belonging to the burglarized lawyer was found in the car. Shryock, as a convicted felon from previous forgery and other charges, was not allowed to possess a firearm.

He faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune

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