The former clubhouse manager for the New York Mets was sentenced to five years’ probation on Monday for criminal possession of almost $2.3 million worth of game-used Mets memorabilia and other collectibles.
Charlie Samuels, 55, of Arverne, pleaded guilty in February to second-degree criminal possession of stolen property and third- and fourth-degree criminal tax fraud, according to a statement issued by the office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Samuels started working for the Mets in 1976, and became equipment manager in 1983. He eventually became clubhouse manager and travelling secretary.
Samuels took autographed jerseys, bats and balls belonging to the Mets and evaded both city and state taxes on the items.
He was fired by the Mets in 2010.
Samuels was sentenced by Queens Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho.
“The defendant betrayed the trust of his longtime employers, the New York Mets,” Brown said in the statement. “He had a baseball fan’s dream job, but allowed greed to get in his way. He now has lost his job and his reputation.”
Brown said that according to Samuels’ plea, he knowingly possessed hundreds of autographed and unsigned Mets jerseys, bats, balls, helmets and other equipment between Sept. 1 and Nov. 13, 2007, which had been stolen from the team, with an appraised value of more than $2.28 million.
The equipment was recovered from a Madison, Conn., home of a friend in November 2010.
The investigation included Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations and the Sheriff’s Office of Port St. Lucie, Fla., where the Mets hold spring training.
Samuels also pleaded guilty to underreporting his income on his 2009 state tax return, including the underreporting of tips and gratuities he had received from players and others.
Samuels has agreed to pay restitution of more than $20,000 to the state; more than $14,700 to the city; nearly $25,000 to the Mets; and $15,000 in forfeiture to Brown’s office.
In addition, Samuels is banned from Citi Field, the team’s minor league park in Brooklyn and spring training facilities in Florida.