NEBRASKA CITY – A Nebraska City man was sentenced Monday to probation and ordered to pay restitution after defrauding victims in a sports memorabilia cards scheme.

 A Nebraska City police investigation led to charges against Christopher Carlson, 25, for theft by deception.

Victims told police that Carlson offered to sell collectible cards, but did not send the cards to buyers in Lees Summit, Mo., or Suisan, Calif. Online buyers were coaxed into sending valuable cards to Nebraska City on the promise of a trade, but say the traded cards never came.

In September, the Otoe County Sheriff’s Office received a call from Unadilla. A victim there had purchased cards from Carlson, but found the cards of value were fake or missing.

The buyer was out $4,400 after receiving a fake 1953 Topps Satchell Paige, a Topps Lebron James, 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. star rookie card  and a 1968 rookie card with Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan on it.

The victim said some of the cards were easily identified as fake because they had blank backs, but the transaction was made quickly in Unadilla so the buyer did not have a chance to check the contents of the box.

The victim in Missouri told police he sent cards of value to Carlson expecting Carlson to send collectible cards in return, but he never received them.

Judge Julie Smith told Carlson she is concerned about his ability to complete a term of probation, but said restitution is best enforced while a person is on probation.

Smith: “You owe the victims a lot of money and I want you to pay them back.”

Carlson was ordered to pay the man in Missouri $1,350 and the man in California $1,800. The victim from the Unadilla theft is owed $4,400.

Carlson was ordered to two-consecutive 18 month probation terms and 45 days in jail.