YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The accused mastermind behind a multi-million dollar fraudulent sports memorabilia ring stood before two judges again on Friday, this time for an arraignment hearing and a bond hearing.
Prosecutors say Cliff Panezich sold phony sports memorabilia on eBay, cheating people out of millions of dollars. He is charged with one count of telecommunications fraud and aggravated theft and three counts of forgery.
They made Panezich a number of plea offers, but he turned all of them down.
He was arraigned Friday in Judge Shirley Christian’s courtroom. He then went before Judge Maureen Sweeney, the trial judge, who set his bond at half a million dollars.
Panezich had been expected to enter a guilty plea last month in a deal that would’ve gotten him seven years in prison.
Others, including Panezich’s mother, Rose, have been sentenced for their role in the crime.
Panezich’s trial is set for January 3. He could now face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.