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Ex-Mets Clubhouse Manager Sentenced for $2M Memorabilia Theft

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on April 18, 2012 8:48 AM

The former New York Mets clubhouse manager who admitted to stealing $2.3 million worth of team memorabilia will serve five years of probation, and can never set foot on Mets property ever again.

Charlie Samuels, 55, had worked for the Mets for more than three decades before the team fired him in 2010, the Associated Press reports.

"He had a baseball fan's dream job but allowed greed to get in his way," a Queens prosecutor said, according to the New York Daily News. Now Samuels will have to pay for his unauthorized personal collection, which he stashed in a friend's basement.

Ex-Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels admitted to stealing 507 uniforms, some of which were autographed; 828 bats; 304 baseball caps; 22 batting helmets; and 10 equipment bags, the New York Post reports. Samuels did not sell the items, valued at $2.28 million, but planned to do so after he retired, prosecutors said.

Mets managers began looking into Samuels in 2010 after he confessed to allegedly betting on games and giving bookies free Mets tickets. An investigation revealed Samuels' memorabilia theft, as well as false expense reports and unpaid taxes, the Post reports.

Samuels could have faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted at trial. Instead, he took a plea bargain -- agreeing to plead guilty in exchange for a more lenient sentence. The deal requires him to pay more than $50,000 in restitution to the Mets, $35,000 in back taxes, and $15,000 to the Queens prosecutor's office.

Though Charlie Samuels admitted to criminal possession and tax fraud as part of his plea deal, the former Mets clubhouse manager still insists he was given the memorabilia "legitimately," the Post reports. Samuels has already paid about $25,000 to the Mets for the stolen items.

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