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Former Backyard Breaks Employee Caught Stealing Cards

backyard breaks theft

Backyard Breaks, a company with a long and consistent history of involvement in scams and scandals, continues to operate despite these alarming facts.

It’s concerning that our fellow hobbyists seem to overlook these issues and continue to support them. But now there is a new beef everyone is talking about involving Backyard Breaks.

However, the company is not necessarily at fault at this time. At least not as directly as they usually are.

These ongoing issues are not just a matter of personal disputes, they have the potential to impact the sports card collecting industry as a whole significantly.

What happened with the former Backyard Breaks employee caught stealing cards

This time, the issue involves a former employee of Backyard Breaks, a fellow called Ethan Rubin. He took to the Facebook page known as Sports Card Scammer Tracker to make some serious allegations.

In his post, he accused the owner of a Florida card store, Jeff De Jesus, who owned Fansonly Collectibles, of engaging in unethical practices.

Rubin claimed that De Jesus was someone who “TRIMS, SHILLS, RESEALS, and TRACES autos of the majority of his high-end and low-end cards.” He also alleged that De Jesus had “blatantly bragged about it to me and many others in the industry and even offered us money to shill cards for him when his burners got caught.”

These are not light accusations, and they should not be ignored.

In addition, Rubin accused him of “resealing hundreds of cards in the past and purchasing fake sheets of Panini stickers to put on his one touches.”

He also added some pretty extreme insults, such as, “This guy is a complete cockroach who has been called out on his stuff several times in the past, whether on Facebook or Blowout.”

Fine also attached a picture showing a text he allegedly exchanged with De Jesus. Ethan says, “Yo, would you sell me a sheet of Panini sticks,” De Jesus answers, “I need to pick up more, but yeah, I’ll give you some.”

He also enclosed an unclear picture showing an alleged transaction involving these stickers. None of this is particularly conclusive, but it certainly is a strongly worded accusation, at the very least.

For unknown reasons, Rubin then deleted the long and detailed post.

YouTube video

Is Ethan Fine the real scammer?

According to his LinkedIn profile, Ethan Fine is a “Senior Purchasing Specialist at Backyard Athlete.”

However, there are some credible allegations that he no longer works for Backyard Breaks because he stole cards and cash from his former employers.

The folks at Sports Card Radio broke this story, revealing that they received several emails about Fine and the actions that led to his firing from Backyard Breaks.

One email they received from an unnamed source said, “rumor going around Dallas this weekend that one of Backyards main buyers got arrested for embezzlement and a few people are panicking about losing their main source to dump product to.” Adding, “I would like to be anonymous.”

Was Ethan Fine getting back at Jeff De Jesus?

But here we get the motive for Ethan’s anger at Jeff De Jesus. It appears that Jeff was the one who told Backyard Breaks about the theft of cards and money from them.

He texted a friend, saying, “Ethan used to work for a good friend. Ethan got caught stealing cards and cash and taking kickbacks to buy dealers’ inventory. He found out that I was the one who reported him and quickly text messaged me nasty emails, saying that I was lying and that he was going to spread lies about me and my company online if I got him fired. I told him, do what you have to do. He got let go, and this beautiful post is made two days later.”

He also told Sports Card Radio, “Obviously, the truth and everything Ethan wants to say to bring anyone down with him is different things. And that is me because I was the whistleblower on him.”

So, Jeff De Jesus made a compelling case that Ethan Fine was coming after him to get revenge for the role De Jesus played in his firing.

So, who is the shady one?

There are so many problematic actors in the hobby that both parties may be at fault. But people can exaggerate the claims when there are fights like this.

Notably, Jeff De Jesus did not deny the allegations leveled at him. Indeed, he tried to let the fact that Ethan Fine had recently been fired from Backyard Breaks speak for itself. But that is not the same as a complete denial.

It is unclear why Backyard Breaks remains popular as a hobby despite its notable history of misdeeds.

It reminds me of that famous quote from the Magnificent Seven, “If God did not want them sheared, He would not have made them sheep.” In other words, go ahead if you all want to get scammed. But the scandals that have followed this outfit are out of control.

How does this affect Backyard Breaks?

The folks that run Backyard Breaks have been involved in several scandals before. They first came to our attention on January 2022.

At that time, an individual won a Trevor Lawrence gold Kaboom! as a free giveaway during one of their breaks. But the folks at Backyard Breaks refused to give it to the raffle winner. One of their breakers, Nicky Rips, said, “I’ll be the bad guy. I’m sorry we can’t give that one away. We can’t give that one away, but we will give something else away. We can’t give that away for free; it’s a $25,000 card.” They then claimed to have given the profits from it away to charity.

In May 2023, they were accused of selling repacks in which the big prize was supposed to be a Joe Burrow 2020 Contenders auto. People paid $2,200 to buy in, but the card in question was merely a redemption—and an expired one at that.

Following that incident, there were insistent rumors that Backyard Breaks had inside deals with some of the hobby’s major distributors. Some observers noticed that they were receiving an unrealistic amount of the best cards in the hobby, to the point that it went against all the possible odds. Nothing was ever proven, but the rumors about this have persisted.

So, we are not surprised that this outfit would hire a shady individual to steal from them. Once again, it appears they were selling repacks that had been watered down, although this time, that may not have been the owners’ fault. But it does increase our doubts about this company.

Final word on former Backyard Breaks employee caught seeing stealing cards

There are so many scammers in the hobby that it is hard to keep track.

We don’t know the full story here yet, but we will update you when more information comes out. If there are two significant takeaways from this story, it is this:

  1. Do not buy repacks. The shenanigans here all revolve around repacks, and that is not a coincidence. Those things are notoriously sketchy. And if you are going to buy them, do not ever engage with actors you are not sure about. They are so easy to manipulate against you and filled with garbage.
  2. Backyard Breaks are not good actors. The result is the same whether they are doing shady deals or hiring employees they can’t trust. This outfit will take your hard-earned money and give you little in return.
Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.

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