Former New York Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels pleaded guilty to criminal possession of almost $2.3 million worth of team memorabilia including autographed jerseys, bats and baseballs.
Samuels, who has been free on $75,000 bail since his arrest in May, also pleaded guilty to evading city and state taxes, Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown said yesterday in a statement. Samuels is expected to receive five years probation at his sentencing on April 16.
“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.”
The Mets fired Samuels on Nov. 12, 2010, following an internal investigation, and he was charged after a New York Police Department inquiry.
“We thank the NYPD organized crime investigations division and the Queens district attorney’s office for their lengthy and through criminal investigation and successful prosecution,” the Mets said last night in an e-mail.
After entering his plea yesterday, Samuels, 55, who spent 27 seasons with the Major League Baseball team, was banned from the Mets’ home park, Citi Field, the team’s minor-league park in Brooklyn and the spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
In his appearance before acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron, Samuels pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of stolen property and third- and fourth-degree criminal tax fraud.
He agreed to pay restitution of $20,843 to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance; $14,738.35 to the New York City Department of Finance; $24,955 to Sterling Mets LP, which owns the Mets, and $15,000 to the Queens County district attorney’s office.
Samuels, who joined the Mets in 1976, had hundreds of autographed and unsigned Mets jerseys, baseballs, bats, helmets and other equipment acquired between Sept. 1 and Nov. 13, 2007, valued at almost $2.3 million, Brown said. The property was recovered in November 2010 from the basement of a Madison, Connecticut, house belonging to a friend of Samuels.