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Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Samuels pleads guilty in Queens court

By Adam Rubin

Former Mets clubhouse supervisor Charlie Samuels completed a plea deal with the Queens DA that was announced Tuesday. Read the news story here.

Here's the press release from the DA:

FORMER NEW YORK METS CLUBHOUSE MANAGER PLEADS GUILTY

TO CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF METS BASEBALL MEMORABILIA

AND COLLECTIBLES VALUED AT ALMOST $2.3 MILLION

Also Admits To Evading City And State Taxes; Lifetime Ban From Mets Ballparks

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown today announced that Charles Samuels, the former longtime clubhouse manager for the New York Mets, has pleaded guilty to criminally possessing almost $2.3 million worth of on-field and game-used Mets memorabilia and collectibles -- including autographed jerseys, bats and baseballs -- belonging to the Mets organization and to evading City and State taxes.

District Attorney Brown said, “The defendant was a once trusted employee of the New York Mets who, by his guilty plea, admits that he took advantage of his position and employers to amass a sports memorabilia collection worth millions of dollars. On top of that he failed to pay City and State taxes on tens of thousands of dollars that he had received while employed by the New York Mets. In sum, the defendant had a dream job that any Mets fan would die for – and he blew it. He allowed his greed to get the better of him.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Charles Samuels, 55, of Arverne, Queens.

Samuels began his career with the New York Mets in 1976, was made equipment manager in 1983 and subsequently became the clubhouse manager and traveling secretary. He was terminated by the Mets organization in November 2010.

Samuels, who has been free on $75,000 bail since his arrest in May 2011, appeared today before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron and pleaded guilty to the crimes of second-degree criminal possession of stolen property and third- and fourth-degree criminal tax fraud in satisfaction of the charges against him.

As part of his guilty plea, Samuels agreed to pay restitution of $20,843 to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, $14,738.35 to the New York City Department of Finance, $24,955 to Sterling Mets, L.P. (which does business as the New York Mets) and to pay $15,000 in forfeiture to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office. Additionally, Samuels is banned from Citi Field in Queens, the New York Mets’ minor league park in Brooklyn, and their spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Sentencing is scheduled for April 16, 2012, at which time Samuels is expected to be sentenced to five years’ probation.

District Attorney Brown said that, according to the guilty plea, Samuels knowingly possessed hundreds of autographed and unsigned New York Mets jerseys, baseballs, bats, helmets and other equipment between September 1, 2007, and November 13, 2007, that had been stolen from Sterling Mets, L.P., and which had an appraised value of $2,282,265. The Mets property was recovered in November 2010 from the basement of a Madison, Connecticut, house belonging to a friend of Samuels. In pleading guilty, Samuels stated under oath that he did not possess any other property belonging to Sterling Mets, L.P.

Samuels also pleaded guilty to under reporting the true amount of his income on his 2009 New York State tax returns in order to avoid a tax liability for the year. The indictment specifically charged that Samuels under reported the true amount of the dues and gratuities that he had received from ball players and others.

The District Attorney expressed his appreciation to Sterling Mets, L.P., Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations, Detective Andrew Bolonka of the Office of Port St. Lucie (Florida) Sheriff Ken J. Mascara, New York City Department of Finance Commissioner David M. Frankel and his staff, and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox and his staff for their assistance and cooperation during the investigation.

The investigation was conducted by Detective Gerard McNally and Sergeant James Baratta, of the New York City Police Department’s Organized Crime Investigation Division, under the supervision of Lieutenant Christopher Fasano, Captain John A. Dusanenko and Inspector Brian O’Neill, and under the overall supervision of Chief Anthony Izzo, of the Organized Crime Control Bureau, and by Forensic Accountant James J. Dever, who is assigned to the District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau, and Financial Analysts Andrew W. Risi and Mathew D. Scavetta, of the District Attorney’s Special Proceedings Bureau.

Assistant District Attorney Christine M. Maloney, of the District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau, prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Gerard A. Brave, Bureau Chief, and Mark L. Katz, Deputy Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Linda M. Cantoni.