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-   -   some more red meat for all the N54 moralists (http://www.net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=249960)

timn1 01-11-2018 05:25 PM

some more red meat for all the N54 moralists
 
Hypothetically:

A collector of long acquaintance (call him A) comes up to the table at the National that I am sharing with two friends. I happen to be manning the table alone at that moment. He asks to see the T209s that my friend (call him M) has in his case. A is a longtime T209 collector, as is my friend. After looking through them for a minute or two, Collector A exclaims to me in horror, "THESE ARE MY CARDS!"

Now, my friend M has previously told me that about a month earlier he bought this group plus some others from a well-known dealer who is set up at the National (call him B). M puts some of the group in his own collection, sells some to two collector friends who are also working on the set, and brings the remainder to his case at the National. I do not remember exactly what he paid for them. For some general context, the amount is somewhere between $2500 and $5000.

It quickly comes to light that A has been storing his cards with his grandparents, far from where he lives. His brother - an (alleged) scamp or ne'er-do-well - (allegedly) decides to sell them for drug money or something equally worthy. They pass from the initial buyer through at least one middleman to dealer B, who contacts M and they make the deal.

Now, regardless of whether or not law enforcement does something to punish the (alleged) thief, someone is likely to get screwed here. I will share with you that my friend M feels an obligation to:

1. return all of the cards that he has in his possession to A, the initial victim of the theft, which he does unconditionally.
2. get back the cards he has sold to other collectors, refund their money, and return those cards to A, which he does unconditionally.

The question for all you stringent moral arbiters is, what is the fairest solution from here? What is missing from this restitution? What do you feel the remaining legal and/or ethical obligations of the following actors to be, if any?

- A, the innocent victim of (alleged) theft?

-. B, the dealer who bought the cards from an unknown party (presumably not knowing they were stolen) and then sold them to M?

Right now, this entire narrative should be taken as hypothetical. Whether it remains so will be up to my friend when I have the chance to speak to him about it.

sb1 01-11-2018 06:14 PM

Knowing most of the events/players of this scenario, it would be most desirable if all of the cards somehow got back to A. However some are too far dispersed at this time and it also requires someone or more than one take a hit, as the person who stole them and sold them to the dealer has no skin in the game.

M has little chance of getting reimbursed from B and B has no chance of getting reimbursed by the culprit, (sure would be easier if we could use names, the initials confuse me) :) and A has little chance of ever getting back to where he was in this scenario before the theft.

I think if M does the best he can to reassemble the original group and makes a good faith effort to make A whole, at the very least he makes himself feel better about the entire mess and gives A a large portion of the collection back in it's proper place. At that point it would be nice if B would step up and reimburse M at least some money to help out. No one is going to be completely unscathed by this entire deal, except for the perp who could probably care less.

All that being said, this is probably not the best venue to try this case, as most outsiders will not have the complete story(at least as we know it).

the-illini 01-11-2018 06:27 PM

Hypothetically speaking it would be nice if the dealer acted in good faith to make A as whole as possible rather than, hypothetically, lawyering up to check their responsibility under the letter of the law.

Chris Bland

oldjudge 01-11-2018 06:35 PM

I think that M has done the right thing-return the cards to A that he has in his possession and recouped and return those that he sold. That should make victim A whole or nearly whole. M should then go to B and explain the situation. If B is reputable he will refund M's purchase price and then, if there are others between himself and scum bag brother try to get his purchase price from them. Assuming scum bag brother has already used the money and cannot repay, someone south of B, or B, will lose money. Hopefully, the police are involved and part of scum bag brother's sentence is to make restitution for the amounts lost. I think it would be a big mistake if scum bag brother is not prosecuted, he needs to be saved from himself.

oldjudge 01-11-2018 06:38 PM

By the way, I would like the know who B is. If he or she will not return M's purchase price I would like to avoid future dealings.

Jacklitsch 01-11-2018 06:38 PM

I like M a lot but A should bear most of the responsibility here. After all it was he who failed to safeguard his collection and likely it was his brother who stole the cards.

I understand that a thief cannot convey good title and likely the end result would have been the same. There may be some exception if the buyer acquires goods from a bona fide seller (B).

Anyway M is good guy as we all know.

Aquarian Sports Cards 01-11-2018 06:42 PM

Your friend is a saint.

The brother needs to be reported to the police though because this could all be some elaborate hoax otherwise. Sell your cards, blame a "brother" get cards back and win all the way to the bank. Not likely, but possible.

At the very least I would hope the original owner would recognize the herculean effort being undertaken by your friend and do something to lessen the pain.

the-illini 01-11-2018 06:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oldjudge (Post 1737717)
By the way, I would like the know who B is. If he or she will not return M's purchase price I would like to avoid future dealings.

B is a member of the board. I will leave it to A or M if they wish to reveal who it is.

Chris Bland

egbeachley 01-11-2018 06:52 PM

M didn't do anything wrong and shouldn't be the one who loses any money.

A should take the financial hit now and work on getting reimbursed by brother, unless all transactions can be reversed. Presumably it's the original buyer who made the most profit.

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 07:14 PM

It seems to me B and M are both equally innocent BFPs. So why should B absorb all the hit (assuming B has no recourse against the thief), is it just because someone has to and he is earlier in the chain?

oldjudge 01-11-2018 07:18 PM

Eric-I strongly disagree with you. If someone broke into your house and stole your collection would you feel that you should bear the total loss because you had not "secured" it? A believed he left the collection in a secure place.

oldjudge 01-11-2018 07:21 PM

Peter-If justice is served B will only be out the time value of money (and his profit margin on resale). As a dealer, he should bear some responsibility if he buys stolen goods.

Rookiemonster 01-11-2018 07:22 PM

“Hypothetically “what if I had a crack head brother and told him to sell my cards and I’ll report them stolen. Then I’ll go after my cards and get most of them back and drop the charges on my brother?

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 07:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oldjudge (Post 1737741)
Peter-If justice is served B will only be out the time value of money (and his profit margin on resale). As a dealer, he should bear some responsibility if he buys stolen goods.

How likely is it that justice will be served? Without knowing the players, isn't it more likely someone is going to be left holding the bag? Both B and M made innocent purchases, so (forget law) morally why should B take the full hit and M be made whole?

bobbvc 01-11-2018 07:38 PM

Knowing nothing else about this or any of the players I would say the issue is between A and his brother. If B knew they were stolen then it's on him as well. I don't see how anyone else is responsible unless they knew about the original theft.

bdk1976 01-11-2018 07:43 PM

HYPOTHETICALLY:

I’d probably tell ‘A’ that if he wants his cards he should go beat his money out of his sh!thead brother and buy his cards back with the proceeds.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

oldjudge 01-11-2018 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth (Post 1737746)
How likely is it that justice will be served? Without knowing the players, isn't it more likely someone is going to be left holding the bag? Both B and M made innocent purchases, so (forget law) morally why should B take the full hit and M be made whole?

Counselor, you know the answer to this better than I do.

egbeachley 01-11-2018 08:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oldjudge (Post 1737740)
Eric-I strongly disagree with you. If someone broke into your house and stole your collection would you feel that you should bear the total loss because you had not "secured" it? A believed he left the collection in a secure place.

Absolutely. Who else should, assuming the buyers didn't suspect they were stolen?

Maybe one of us misread the scenario. But it looks like M paid full retail for the cards, the 3rd sale down the line (first sale by brother locally, then to Dealer B, then to M). That burden shouldn't be on M. Yes, maybe B will step up and then the first buyer will also. But that should be worked out first. Then yes, M should help with the process and loses any profits, same as B and first buyer.

Not to mention that maybe A will eventually be made whole by the brother (maybe parents adjust inheritance or court garnishments).

timn1 01-11-2018 08:12 PM

A bit more context
 
Good thoughts, everyone. Hypothetically, this may have happened a while ago, lol. The money is long gone, the police were notified, etc.

My own feeling is that A and B should have stepped up and shared the financial hit with M. None of the three acted wrongly in the initial stages, but so far only M has been willing to take any significant steps to do the right thing. He is out all the cards and all the money he bought them with. I believe the other two are relying on his goodwill and hoping to skate. He is understandably unhappy about the situation, but has not wanted to complain publicly. I finally have gotten fed up on his behalf and decided to put the situation out here so people could consider it.

Would it be appropriate to name the parties if M wishes to?

BearBailey 01-11-2018 08:13 PM

The cards are where the cards are the dealers did nothing wrong unless they knowingly bought stolen cards. The brother would no longer be my brother.

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 08:14 PM

M definitely should return the cards, now that he knows they are stolen. He can't legally, or ethically, keep stolen property. Cross reference NYPL discussion.

So the question becomes now how does one sort out the mess among the other players.

egbeachley 01-11-2018 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth (Post 1737769)
M definitely should return the cards, now that he knows they are stolen. He can't legally, or ethically, keep stolen property. Cross reference NYPL discussion.

So the question becomes now how does one sort out the mess.

M should go to B and ask for a refund since they were stolen, then continue down the line. For every card that M returns upfront, M is out 100% and A is out nothing.

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 08:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by egbeachley (Post 1737770)
M should go to B and ask for a refund since they were stolen, then continue down the line. For every card that M returns upfront, M is out 100% and A is out nothing.

Yeah and I think M is entitled to the refund too because B really had nothing to sell him in the first place. It just bothers me that B then gets stuck holding the bag, assuming B has no recourse against the brother (or was there another intermediary to whom B can now go?).

timn1 01-11-2018 08:25 PM

Just to clarify
 
M did return all the cards to the original owner long ago because he thought it was his ethical obligation. He was hoping others would feel a similar obligation, but to my knowledge neither of the other people have offered to reimburse him more than a pittance.

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timn1 (Post 1737777)
M did return all the cards to the original owner long ago because he thought it was his ethical obligation. He was hoping others would feel a similar obligation, but to my knowledge neither of the other people have offered to reimburse him more than a pittance.

Being able to sleep at night -- priceless.

egbeachley 01-11-2018 08:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timn1 (Post 1737777)
M did return all the cards to the original owner long ago because he thought it was his ethical obligation. He was hoping others would feel a similar obligation, but to my knowledge neither of the other people have offered to reimburse him more than a pittance.

Exactly why M should have gone to B first and start the unwinding process. M paid the most and is getting screwed the most.

Another reason is that since A got many of his cards back, he may feel that he can ignore police action against his brother. No matter what, the brother should be held accountable, not M.

slidekellyslide 01-11-2018 08:32 PM

I am currently mixed up in a situation where I unknowingly purchased stolen items. A lady came into my store and sold me some customized McFarlane football figurines that were all made into former Nebraska football players. The customs were in packages and were professionally made, I gave her a substantial amount of money for them. I placed all 15 of them on ebay and they were up to about $500 after 3 days. I got a question from an ebayer asking me where I'd gotten them. I told him that I bought them from someone who came to my store. He then told me they were stolen from him 3 years ago. I asked him to send me the police report and the next day he did. I called the police and they told me I needed to contact the police in his town (about 100 miles from me). They asked me a bunch of questions and then they asked the Lincoln police to come and take pics of the items. I also gave them her info as I only pay people via check and get their driver's license. I assume paying by check and taking ID deters thieves from even trying to sell to me. The cops told me that the lady has a warrant, but they didn't tell me what it was for.

I do believe these items were stolen from the guy, they all matched up with what was on the police report from three years ago although there were hundreds of items listed that the lady did not bring to me. The police do not seem very interested in pursuing this and said the guy was paid by insurance for the theft. I'm not so sure the local police are pursing it either because the lady came back into my store a few days ago trying to sell me baseball cards (no baseball cards were on the police report list). I took her aside and explained to her that the items she brought me a few weeks ago were stolen, she then told me a different story than the original story she gave me when she sold the figures to me. She said the figures were in her dad's possession and he had passed away. This time she told me she bought them from some guy she didn't know. As she was leaving I took her license plate down and gave it to the police, but still haven't heard anything from them.

The original owner has not contacted me since sending me the police report, but I'm wondering what the legal ownership of these items are since he was paid via insurance for them. If he was paid for what he valued the items at then it was more than I would have expected to get for them on ebay. He also had a lot of common NASCAR and Star Wars toys stolen from him that he overvalued as well. The police report states that the storage unit they were stolen from had no damage to the lock, and they found the lock on the inside of the unit.

timn1 01-11-2018 08:33 PM

He tried. B basically lawyered up and wouldn’t talk to him.
Quote:

Originally Posted by egbeachley (Post 1737782)
Exactly why M should have gone to B first and start the unwinding process. M paid the most and is getting screwed the most.

M.


the-illini 01-11-2018 08:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by egbeachley (Post 1737782)
Exactly why M should have gone to B first and start the unwinding process. M paid the most and is getting screwed the most.

Another reason is that since A got many of his cards back, he may feel that he can ignore police action against his brother. No matter what, the brother should be held accountable, not M.

He went to B. B called his lawyer to see what he was obligated to do.

Chris Bland

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 08:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by egbeachley (Post 1737782)
Exactly why M should have gone to B first and start the unwinding process. M paid the most and is getting screwed the most.

Another reason is that since A got many of his cards back, he may feel that he can ignore police action against his brother. No matter what, the brother should be held accountable, not M.

M had to give them back. A does not have to wait for the cards to go back up the chain, they are A's cards and A gets them from whoever has possession. But that does not preclude M from going after B now.

egbeachley 01-11-2018 08:40 PM

Lawyered up? Didn't even return the profits? Sounds like B knew or suspected they were stolen.

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 08:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by egbeachley (Post 1737787)
Lawyered up? Didn't even return the profits? Sounds like B knew they were stolen.

It doesn't matter, because they weren't B's to sell irrespective of what B knew or did not know. M paid for nothing. Although I don't love the outcome, because I feel for B as an innocent, B should refund M and go after his seller.

seanofjapan 01-11-2018 09:12 PM

I'm going to be a contrarian and say that I think M should keep the cards.

This is basically a question of who should suck up the loss , A or M? (I'm assuming that getting the real person who should bear the loss, the brother, to pay up is impossible).

I think the over-riding principle should be that the person who was in the best situation to have prevented the debacle in the first place is the one who should bear the loss.

M was a purchaser in good faith who had no way of knowing (or reason to suspect) that the cards had been stolen. He is completely blameless and there was nothing he could reasonably have done to prevent this from happening.

A on the other hand was basically careless with his cards. I'm assuming a bit from the facts you have given that he left them with minimal to no supervision at his parent's house, while knowing that his drug addicted brother had access to them and might steal them. He was in a position to have prevented this from happening at all if he had just put them in a safe spot away from his brother, and was negligent in failing to do so.

While I can sympathize with A, I really see no reason why M should be forced to bear the cost of his loss. My opinion would be a lot different if M knew they were stolen or had reason to suspect they were stolen and turned a blind eye to that (ie bought them from an unreliable source, etc), in which case I would say he should absolutely return them.

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 09:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seanofjapan (Post 1737808)
I think M should keep the cards.

This is basically a question of who should suck up the loss , A or M? (I'm assuming that getting the real person who should bear the loss, the brother, to pay up is impossible).

I think the over-riding principle should be that the person who was in the best situation to have prevented the debacle in the first place is the one who should bear the loss.

M was a purchaser in good faith who had no way of knowing (or reason to suspect) that the cards had been stolen. He is completely blameless and there was nothing he could reasonably have done to prevent this from happening.

A on the other hand was basically careless with his cards. I'm assuming a bit from the facts you have given that he left them with minimal to no supervision at his parent's house, while knowing that his drug addicted brother had access to them and might steal them. He was in a position to have prevented this from happening at all if he had just put them in a safe spot away from his brother, and was negligent in failing to do so.

While I can sympathize with A, I really see no reason why M should be forced to bear the cost of his loss.

You might want to read post 24.

BeanTown 01-11-2018 09:24 PM

1 Attachment(s)
A is in the photo
B is not in the photo
M took the photo
The OP is also in the photo

I was at B's table browsing and over heard a sleezy conversation about this entire situation at the Atlantic City National. M knows this as I spoke to him minutes later on this.

Call me W (whitness) and I'm in the photo to!

seanofjapan 01-11-2018 09:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth (Post 1737809)
You might want to read post 24.

So noted. M should have kept the cards.

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seanofjapan (Post 1737817)
So noted. M should have kept the cards.

Disagree completely. One cannot keep stolen goods.

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 09:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seanofjapan (Post 1737817)
So noted. M should have kept the cards.

Suppose we're at a show. I walk up to your table and present to you incontrovertible proof that the card you just bought from some other dealer was stolen from my table. You believe me. I ask for it back. Are you really going to tell me, no, it's mine now?

timn1 01-11-2018 10:00 PM

Can’t keep them
 
The point is, as a supposedly honest hobby, shouldn’t we be able to exert ethical pressure so that the unlucky person who happened to have them when the theft was discovered shouldn’t be stuck with the entire loss?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth (Post 1737809)
You might want to read post 24.

Quote:

Originally Posted by seanofjapan (Post 1737817)
So noted. M should have kept the cards.


Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 10:03 PM

When ethical persuasion doesn't work, there's always legal action.

seanofjapan 01-11-2018 10:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth (Post 1737825)
Suppose we're at a show. I walk up to your table and present to you incontrovertible proof that the card you just bought from some other dealer was stolen from my table. You believe me. I ask for it back. Are you really going to tell me, no, it's mine now?

That is a different situation though. Personally I think whatever rule we (meaning collectors in general) establish to deal with situations involving stolen goods should encourage two types of behavior:

1) it should require dealers to exercise due diligence when purchasing cards. If they fail to do so (say by turning a blind eye to cards from a suspicious source, etc), they should eat the loss.
2) it should encourage collectors to take reasonable measures to safeguard their collections from theft. If they fail to do so they should eat the loss, unless they can show the dealer failed to exercise due diligence per 1 above, in which case the dealer should eat the loss regardless of the collector's negligence.

I think this is a better rule than merely saying "stolen goods should be returned always no matter what", which is a rule that encourages neither due diligence on the part of dealers (because if that is the rule they know they will have to give back cards regardless of whether or not they acted properly, so why would they bother going to the trouble) or appropriate care by collectors (for the same reason).

In the OP's scenario, all the facts which led to the loss in the first place are attributable to A rather than M. A had a drug addict thief for a brother? How is that M's fault? A put his cards where his brother had access? How is that M's fault?

Also since whoever eats the loss is going to have a claim against A's brother, it makes little sense to put M, who does not know or have any connection to the brother, in that position rather than A, who presumably (since its his brother) has a much closer connection to that person. If anyone is going to have a chance at getting money out of the real culprit it is A rather than M.

Conversely, nothing in the facts suggest that M did not exercise due diligence in making the purchase (unless I am missing something).

So I stand by my belief that M should not have been obligated to return the cards. It speaks well to his character and honesty as a dealer that he did so, but I don't think he should be been obligated to.

timn1 01-11-2018 10:11 PM

Legally speaking ...
 
Dealer B seems to believe that he has no obligations vis-à-vis my friend M, which may well be true legally. But it still surprises me that a well known dealer is willing to risk his reputation for a couple thousand dollars.

I got to thinking about this unresolved issue as I watched people sharpening their knives and hatching their zany theories about Al C., who I believe to be the epitome of an honest broker. I wondered why this other guy should be getting a total pass in comparison.

Tim

mantlefan 01-11-2018 10:13 PM

Questions
 
Did A - report the theft to the Police?

Did A - cooperate with the Police investigation?

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timn1 (Post 1737837)
Dealer B seems to believe that he has no obligations vis-à-vis my friend M, which may well be true legally. But it still surprises me that a well known dealer is willing to risk his reputation for a couple thousand dollars.

I got to thinking about this unresolved issue as I watched people sharpening their knives and hatching their zany theories about Al C., who I believe to be the epitome of an honest broker. I wondered why this other guy should be getting a total pass in comparison.

Tim

And what does M's lawyer say? M paid B for goods that turned out to be stolen and had no value because he was obligated to return them. Why doesn't M have a right to his money back?

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 10:23 PM

More specifically, I believe M can sue B for breach of warranty of title, because B impliedly warranted he had title to the goods he was selling, whereas he did not. M should not be cowed because of what B claims his lawyer told him.

58pinson 01-11-2018 10:27 PM

Hypothetically:

In this scenario I see no one but "A" who has a problem.

That said cards are/were his is an allegation.
That a theft took place is unsubstantiated.
Even if both are true he exercised negligence in not insuring his property.
The commodity in question is generic and bearer indemnified.


I would draw a different set of conclusions were the items tracable via third party grading identicication or set registry, and a timely police report filed and verifiable. However, as any other player in this vignette I would do only what I was legally compelled to. Sorry

I'm aware that this is colored by the fact that these parties know each other, and while I think 'M" actions very commendable I feel he went way out of his way.

BeanTown 01-11-2018 10:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timn1 (Post 1737837)
Dealer B seems to believe that he has no obligations vis-à-vis my friend M, which may well be true legally. But it still surprises me that a well known dealer is willing to risk his reputation for a couple thousand dollars.

I got to thinking about this unresolved issue as I watched people sharpening their knives and hatching their zany theories about Al C., who I believe to be the epitome of an honest broker. I wondered why this other guy should be getting a total pass in comparison.

Tim

I will add the Dealer "B" (good hint BTW) bought the cards for pennies on the dollar and he was more worried about keeping the money than doing the right thing. Im sure after I left the table dealer B spoke to his wife who was hovering around and making sure I wasnt listening. Where was Jerry S and the tape recorder at?

drcy 01-11-2018 10:43 PM

Legally, M doesn't return them or have direct financial obligation to A. With stolen property, you move step-by-step down the chain of custody and M returns them for refund from the person he bought them from. That's if you want to solve this by rule of law-- if the parties wish to work it out some other way the could do that.

This is why you are supposed to keep the receipt. Becuase if something turns out to have been stolen (even if five owners earlier), you get the refund from the person you bought the item from.

A's main course of action, it seems to me, is with his brother that originally stole/sold them.

the-illini 01-11-2018 10:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mantlefan (Post 1737838)
Did A - report the theft to the Police?

Did A - cooperate with the Police investigation?

Great questions Frank.

timn1 01-11-2018 11:41 PM

That is news to me
 
JC,
Thanks for your support here. I was not aware of this before, and It makes me feel I am doing the right thing by bringing this back up after 18 months. No doubt A and B were hoping that everyone who knew about this would just forget about it.

But M is my dearest friend in the world and this has caused him a lot of hurt - so I am not forgetting, or forgiving.

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeanTown (Post 1737846)
I will add the Dealer "B" (good hint BTW) bought the cards for pennies on the dollar and he was more worried about keeping the money than doing the right thing. Im sure after I left the table dealer B spoke to his wife who was hovering around and making sure I wasnt listening. Where was Jerry S and the tape recorder at?



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