Wizards of the Coast filed suit in federal court in Washington on Thursday against four individuals from Alabama, alleging “fabrication of hundreds of people, places, and events, all in an effort to obtain under false pretenses valuable Magic: The Gathering-branded premium and promotional cards they then sold through eBay.”
The Wizards suit alleges that one of the defendants in the suit, Jonathon Clifton, was a tournament organizer for Magic: The Gathering from April 2001 until late 2009, when WotC suspended him after buying tournament promo cards from him on eBay. The company alleges that he reported false players and organizers and false tournaments to get promo cards. The take was $3 to $10 per card sold on eBay, according to the suit. Clifton reported 676 sanctioned events during his time as an organizer.
A more ambitious operation apparently kicked off in June of 2009 in the same region of Alabama with some of the same players (Clifton’s wife Jennifer and friends Adam Schlageter and Jason Bailey are the other three defendants), according to the suit. Between that June kick-off and March of this year, 758 Magic events were reported at non-existent venues, with prize support going both to the tournament organizers and to apparently bogus players. Over 9,000 cards, including Promotional and Premium Cards distributed to the organizers and Reward Cards sent to players, were sent out by WotC during the 10-month period. The company was prompted to investigate by suspicious sales on eBay.
WotC is requesting an injunction ordering that the defendants cease and desist; damages “exceeding $75,000” on each of four different counts; other damages; and fees and costs.