2012-04-25 / Front Page

Disgraced Ex-Mets Clubhouse Manager Sentenced

By LIZ GOFF

Disgraced former Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels struck out last week when a Queens judge sentenced him to five years probation—and barred him from Citi Field and all other Mets facilities for life, for swiping more than $2.2 million worth of team memorabilia.
Samuels dodged prison time by pleading guilty to stealing the autographed and unsigned collectibles for resale on the souvenir market, including 507 signed jerseys, 828 bats, 304 caps, 22 batting helmets and 10 equipment bags that he stashed away in the basement of a friend’s house in Madison, Connecticut.


Samuels started working for the Mets in 1976. He was made the team equipment manager in 1983 and later became clubhouse manager and traveling secretary.


The Mets fired him in November 2010 amid allegations that he had bet on baseball games—and after an audit revealed he used team checks to cover his mounting personal expenses.


Samuels, who spent most of his adult life working for the Mets, was accused of falsifying business records in a scam to skim $25,000 off meal money provided by the Mets to umpires.


He was also accused of cheating on his city and state taxes to save $24,000 over a two-year period, by not claiming tips that he received from Mets players.
Samuels avoided jail time by pleading guilty to two counts of criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of tax fraud.


Under the terms of the sentencing, Samuels must pay the Mets $24,955, the city $14,738, the state $20,348 and $15,000 in restitution to the Queens District Attorney’s Office for the cost of the investigation.


He will also have to return the stolen collection of Mets memorabilia that he stashed away to pay for his retirement.


Samuels faced 8.5 to 25 years in prison, if convicted at trial. He could still face jail time if he violates his probation or fails to repay the almost $75,000 in back taxes and restitution to the Mets and the Queens District Attorney’s Office.


“The defendant had a dream job that any Mets fan would die for – and he blew it,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “He allowed his greed to get the better of him.
“The defendant betrayed the trust of his longtime employers, the New York Mets.
“He had a baseball fan’s dream job, but allowed greed to get in his way. He now has lost his job and his reputation.”


Samuels declined to speak at his sentencing but in the past he has told reporters he was given the memorabilia legitimately, despite his guilty plea.


Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations and the Sheriff’s Office of Port St. Lucie, Florida participated in the investigation.
 

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