When Blooper, the Braves’ mascot, tricked Manny Machado into signing over $300 million to him, we all had a laugh. Oh yes, it was funny all right. But what if we were all laughing … at a crime?
That’s what I wanted to find out. So, I called up a lawyer, who insisted on remaining anonymous. Whether it was because this case could become too high profile or he found the request far too ludicrous, who can say?
But, here are the thoughts of a certified legal professional. And, yes, this is completely real.
“The way that [Blooper] approached getting Manny’s signature is what’s known as fraud in the inducement, which is tricking someone about the document they’re signing to get them to sign a different document,” our secret lawyer told us. “But instead of tricking a kindly old woman into signing her life savings away, Blooper tricked Manny into signing a novelty check. The check looks fake because it does not have a routing number or an account number on it. Also, the San Diego Padres likely do not have their own bank — like the logo on the check suggests. No bank would honor that check.”
So, clearly, Blooper is not a criminal mastermind.
“I don’t think any criminals are dumb enough to be this obvious about things,” he says. It’s not even a particularly common situation, either – happening “only when you have a step-brother who wants to get the parents’ money and doesn’t want his step-sibling to get any money because they have never gotten along. So, they’re going to trick the senile mom into signing a new will or revocable trust that gives everything to the step-brother. That’s where this kind of stuff comes up. You don’t really see fraud in the inducement, as far as I’m aware, in any other context.”
But was there any way that Blooper could have tricked Manny and it would have been legal? Like, what if there was some really small print that Machado didn’t read closely enough?
“No,” our lawyer friend said. “You’d have to try really hard to come up with a situation where this would be an acceptable thing to do. You can’t fool someone into giving you $300 million. If you’re forging checks and tricking people to sign checks in amounts around $300 million, that’s probably the range where the local police, if not the FBI, would be very interested in investigating the situation.”
So, what if the Padres star was furious with the mascot? Could Machado file a civil suit?
“You probably don’t have civil remedies unless [the check is] deposited,” he told us. “You’d need both the depositing bank and Manny’s bank to recognize that as a real check.”
He explained with an example, with the San Diego Padres operating as Manny Machado’s local credit union in this scenario.
“Blooper goes and deposits it at Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo then takes the check to the Padres credit union and the Padres credit union goes, ‘Oh yeah, that’s definitely a real check.’ Then there’d be a civil case. But even if the banks reject it, there’s probably some kind of criminal liability that Blooper is exposing himself to … There could be possible criminal charges brought related to the attempt even if he’s not successful,” our anonymous lawyer said, cautioning that he is not a specialist in criminal law.
If anyone thought that Blooper was really trying to steal $300 million, could he go to jail?
After a long pause and an exasperated sigh, our anonymous lawyer tells us, “Yeah.”
Michael Clair writes about baseball for Cut4. He believes stirrup socks are an integral part of every formal outfit and Adam Dunn’s pitching performance was baseball’s greatest moment.
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