Man Charged In eBay Sale Of Historic Items

Faces Three Felonies

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A New York State Department of Education employee has been arrested on suspicion of stealing hundreds of historic documents from the New York State Library and selling them on eBay.

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced the arrest of Daniel D. Lorello, 54 and charged him with three felonies, third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and first-degree scheme to defraud.

"These irreplaceable documents are the property of all New Yorkers," said Attorney General Cuomo. "Public employees with access to records of New York State’s vibrant history are trusted curators who must not abuse their power for personal gain. My office will prosecute any allegation that an individual has attempted to pawn off the state’s property as their own."


The complaint alleges that Lorello tried to sell a number of items owned by the New York State Library on eBay, including a four-page letter that John C. Calhoun, vice president of the United Sates under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, wrote in 1823 to a New York general.

Joseph Romito, a Virginia attorney and former teacher, brought the sale of the Calhoun letter to the attention of state authorities. The auction received bids of more than $1,700 while authorities were monitoring the sale.

Lorello pleaded not guilty to the charges but previously admitted in a written statement to stealing document and artifacts since 2002. Other items Lorello admitted in his statement to stealing included an 1835 Davey Crockett Almanac, which sold for $3,200, and a Poor Richard’s Almanac, which went for $1,001.

"This individual had access to a wide array of the State Library’s collection of historic documents," said Attorney General Cuomo. "My office will work to ensure that any items obtained illegally are recovered and put back in safe keeping."

The Attorney General’s Office is working with the full cooperation of eBay to obtain records of past sales to recover stolen items.


Man Charged In eBay Sale Of Historic Items
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  • Guest

    I think this guy is the tip of the iceberg for trusted local officials who have made personal fortunes from selling official records on ebay. As a genealogist, I frequently report such items, but ebay has never done one thing to check whether the sellers are in legal possession of them. It is sickening to think of the loss of rare records just for profit, when so many people could have used these records to find their ancestors, local history, etc. When these items come into the buyers’ hands, they generally go through many successive rounds of sales.

    I have personally subsidized several state and local genealogical societies in the emergency purchases of rare records found on ebay. Although this played into the seller’s hands, it got them into proper hands again.

    Ebay has constantly stated how hard they work to protect buyers from fraud and get rid of sellers who are thieves. This is a complete crock! The only fraud controllers on ebay are usually other sellers, and sometimes alert and savvy and conscientious buyers. Only when private money is used to tediously fund the investigation and prosecution of thieves and scammers has ebay then jumped onto the band wagon and played the tune, "Oh, What a Good Boy Am I." I wish ebay would stop getting the credit for efforts they not only have not made, but have often actively subverted. At ebay, the name of the game is greed.

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