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Financial Crime: Ex-MLB pitcher and Ohio mayor Chuck Smith sentenced to 33 months in dark web credit card fraud


A former major league pitcher who later served two terms as the mayor of a Cleveland suburb, has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for using stolen credit card info to buy gas.

Charles E. Smith, Jr., 52, pleaded guilty in May to purchasing stolen credit card information from the dark web, in order to create phony credit cards he used to buy thousands of dollars worth of gas to fuel cars he drove to deliver packages for Amazon

In all, federal prosecutors in Ohio say Smith had used over 100 stolen credit and debit cards to buy $10,621 in fuel. As part of his guilty plea, Smith agreed to pay the money back.

A message left with Smith’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned. 

Smith, who went by Chuck Smith during his baseball days, played two years as a starting pitcher for the Florida Marlins in 2000 and 2001. He had been drafted by the Houston Astros in 1991 and spent nine years in the minors before being called up to the big leagues at the age of 30. 

He came in sixth place in voting for the Rookie of the Year in his first season and finished his major league career with an 11-11 record and a 3.84 ERA. In his second year, Smith gave up a homerun to Barry Bonds as one of his record-setting 73 dingers that season.

After bouncing around a few more years in the minors and overseas as a player and a coach, Smith switched to politics, and was elected the mayor of Woodmere, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb of around 900 people in 2008. He amassed a small real estate portfolio in northern Ohio and filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 amid the financial crisis. He served two terms as mayor and left office in 2017.

“I wanted the challenge,” he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer after he was first elected. “I wanted the challenge to make this a better place.”

In 2019, he was elected to serve on the Woodmere Village Council but resigned after just three months, citing health issues. Prosecutors say he began his credit card scam in 2019 and continued with it until the following year. 

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