A Queens man who’s been part of the New York Mets organization for more than 30 years is officially banned from the team’s ballpark for life after pleading guilty to stealing more than $2 million worth of Mets memorabilia from the franchise.
Additionally, former Mets clubhouse manager Charles Samuels, 55, was sentenced to five years probation and must pay about $80,000 in restitution to the Mets and various state and city tax agencies.
Samuels started his career with the Mets in 1976. By 1983, he was named the team’s equipment manager before becoming the clubhouse manager, and ultimately its traveling secretary.
During his time as a trusted Mets employee, Samuels lifted about $2.3
million in on-field and game-used Mets memorabilia and collectibles –
including autographed jerseys, bats and baseballs – belonging to the
Mets organization. Much of the property was found in the basement of the Madison, Connecticut, home of one of Samuels’ friends.
“The defendant betrayed the trust of his longtime employers, the New
York Mets,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says. “He had a
baseball fan’s dream job, but allowed greed to get in his way. He’s now
lost his job and his reputation.”
Samuels pleaded guilty last February to second-degree criminal
possession of stolen property and third- and fourth-degree criminal tax
fraud in satisfaction of the charges against him.
As part of his guilty plea, Samuels must cough up $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, L.P. (which
does business as the New York Mets) and to pay $15,000 in forfeiture to
the Queens County District Attorney’s Office.
Spring training games are off limits for Samuels, too — in addition
to his ban from Citi Field, he’s also banned from the team’s spring
training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and its minor league park