Report: John Rogers Was Tipped to FBI Raid

by George Waldon  on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 4:26 pm  

John Rogers (Photo by Mark Friedman)

John Rogers allegedly was tipped off that federal agents would be visiting his North Little Rock business and home before federal agents executed search warrants on Jan. 28.

In the course of pleading guilty to wire fraud on Monday, Doug Allen, president and CEO of Legendary Auctions in suburban Chicago, admitted warning "Subject A" about an impending raid and that he would be wearing an undercover recording device. The Chicago Tribune reported that Allen's lawyer, Valarie Hays, had confirmed that Subject A was Rogers.

Hays declined to comment about any of the unnamed parties mentioned in the plea bargain when contacted by Arkansas Business. But Blake Hendrix of Little Rock, an attorney for Rogers, told Arkansas Business that Allen "tried to ensnare" Rogers in Allen's "own criminal conduct to try to get a lesser sentence."

"Mr. Rogers is not implicated in Mr. Allen's obstruction of justice, and Mr. Rogers is glad to have assisted the authorities in exposing Mr. Allen's crime," Hendrix said.

No charges have been filed against Rogers, who, according to Allen's plea agreement with federal prosecutors (PDF) in Chicago, also participated in a "consensually recorded undercover meeting" with Allen.

According to the plea agreement, Subject A was under investigation for false statements related to sports memorabilia. Rogers, the owner of Sports Cards Plus Inc. of North Little Rock, is an investor in Legendary Auctions.

At some point, Subject A began cooperating with the government and conducted recorded undercover meetings with Allen. Excerpts from recordings indicate Allen coached Subject A on how to mislead the FBI.

"Mr. Allen tried to ensnare John Rogers in Mr. Allen's own criminal conduct to try to get a lesser sentence," Hendrix said. "We immediately contacted the FBI and agreed to assist its agents in investigating Mr. Allen's obstruction of justice. Mr. Allen's plan backfired."

The charge to which Allen pleaded guilty incorporated several crimes he committed while working for another Chicago-area memorabilia dealer, Mastro Auctions, between 2001 and 2009.

Allen was Mastro's president and chief operating officer before the business closed in 2009 under the cloud of the FBI investigation that led to his 2012 indictment and the indictments of three other Mastro executives.

Federal prosecutors have taken the position that federal sentencing guidelines call for Allen to serve 10 to 12 years in federal prison, in part because they claim he had more than 250 victims and that they collectively lost between $1 million and $2.5 million.

According to the plea agreement, Allen and his attorneys disagree on the number of victims and believe that the total loss was less than $70,000. Allen also disagrees with the government’s position that he was a leader of a criminal activity rather than merely a manager, and that he should be held accountable for attempting to obstruct justice. By the defense’s calculation, his guideline sentence would be 10 to 16 months.



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