2 more men sentenced in fake sports memorabilia case

Jason Lenzi, of Columbiana, and Daniel Marino, Jr., of Austintown, are accused of selling phony sports memorabilia using forged signatures.

Daniel Marino and Jason Lenzi – Sports Memorabilia Fraud
Left to right: Daniel Marino, Jason Lenzi

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Two men who prosecutors say were involved in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme were sentenced Wednesday morning.

Jason Lenzi, of Columbiana, and Daniel Marino, Jr., of Austintown, are accused of selling phony sports memorabilia using forged signatures. Authorities say they have traced over $25,000 in sales back to the people involved in the ring.

Nearly a year after he first appeared in court to plead guilty, Lenzi told the judge Wednesday that he is sorry for what he’s done.

“Words can’t express my disappointment in myself. This was not how I was raised.”

His lawyer, Jerry Ingram, said Lenzi’s involvement “was a horrible decision on his part.”

Marino also apologized in front of the judge.

“I’m sorry to the people I affected, to the victims. I’m sorry to the court system and I’m sorry to my family that I hurt,” he said.

Prosecutors say that while Lenzi showed others in the group how to set up fake bank accounts to hide the money they were making, Marino was more involved.

“He was one of the people who was on eBay, attempting to sell this stuff on behalf of the person who was signing them,” said Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Marty Desmond.

Besides the two in court on Wednesday, Shawn Pelo, of Warren, was sentenced earlier this week in the case. He faces five years of probation.

Four others have also pleaded and are awaiting sentencing.

In addition, Cliff Panezich, who prosecutors have called the ring leader of the group, and his mother, Rose, have been charged in the case but haven’t been indicted.

“In the next couple of weeks…we’ll have definitive answers to all those questions,” Desmond said.

Both Marino and Lenzi were fined and placed on probation, but prosecutors say the others involved in this ring could face prison time for their roles.

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