The former longtime clubhouse manager for the New York Mets has pleaded guilty to criminally possessing nearly $2.3 million worth of team memorabilia as well as evading city and state taxes, the Queens district attorney said.
Charles Samuels, 55, who lives in Arverne, pleaded guilty today before Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron to criminal possession of stolen property and criminal tax fraud, Queens DA Richard Brown said.
The defendant has been free on $75,000 bail since his arrest in May.
“The defendant had a dream job that any Mets fan would die for – and he blew it,” Brown said. “He allowed his greed to get the better of him.”
Samuels had amassed almost $2.3 million worth of on-field and game-used Mets memorabilia and collectibles, such as autographed jerseys, bats and baseballs, that belonged to the Mets organization.
The defendant began his career with the Mets in 1976 and became an equipment manager in 1983. He went on to become the team’s clubhouse manager and traveling secretary.
He was fired by the Mets in November 2010.
As part of his plea, Samuels agreed to pay restitution of $20, 843 to the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance as well as $14,738 to the city’s Department of Finance, $24,955 to Sterling Mets, L.P. and $15,000 in forfeiture to the Queens DA’s office.
The defendant is also banned from Citi Field, the Mets’ minor league park in Brooklyn and their spring training facility in Florida, the DA said.
He will be sentenced on April 16. Brown said the defendant is expected to receive a five-year probation.
Samuels possessed hundreds of autographed memorabilia that had been stolen from Sterling Mets. L.P. and was appraised at more than $2.2 million, Brown said.
The memorabilia was recovered in November 2010 from the basement of a Connecticut home belonging to one of Samuels’ friends.
As part of his plea, the defendant also admitted to under reporting the full amount of his income on his 2009 state tax returns to avoid a tax liability for the year, the DA said.