Former BGS & Current Leaf Employee Joe Clemons Grading Scam

**This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated**

Former Beckett Grading Services (BGS) and current Leaf Trading Cards employee Joe Clemons appears to have a statistically impossible rate at getting BGS 10's & 'Black Labels.' 

Graphic: Blowout Forum

Blowout Forum user Kyaa lays out the shocking details in this thread.

Here are just one of many SHOCKING BGS submissions.

Have you ever got anything that looked like this from BGS?

Joe Clemons Recent BGS Submission
11014560 2018 Topps Chrome Update Juan Soto Black Label
11014562 2017 Bowman Chrome Draft Royce Lewis Black Label
11014563 2018 Topps Walmart Holiday Snowflake Ronald Acuna Black Label
110144565 2018 Topps Chrome Update International Affair Ohtani Black Label
11014567 2018 Topps Chrome Update Walker Buehler Black Label
11014568 2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Manny Machado Black Label
11014570 2018 Topps Chrome Update Shohei Ohtani Black Label
11014571 2018 Topps Chrome Update Juan Soto Black Label
11014573 2018 Topps Chrome Update Mookie Betts Black Label
11014575 2018 Topps Update An International Affair Shohei Ohtani Black Label 
11014577 2018 Topps Walmart Holiday Snowflake Shohei Ohtani RC Black Label
11014580 2018 Topps Chrome Update Mike Trout Black Label
11014581 2018 Topps Chrome Update Ronald Acuna Jr. RD BGS 10


Here is one of the Black Label cards he's received. 

Clemons did come on to defend himself in a separate post you can read here. (Deleted) 

He writes "I've gotten a good amount of black labels in the past. I’m also submitting the easiest stuff on the planet to get good grades on. I spend hours on top of hours going through 10’s of thousands of cards to submit the nicest ones." 

Leaf Trading Cards CEO Brian Gray chimed in first here and throughout the thread

Here are "BG's" thoughts:

"With respect to Joe, he does work for us on a contract basis. I cannot speak to these grading submissions as I have no first hand knowledge. But, I have seen him dig through boxes at shows looking for cherry cards. I have shown him cards before when I wasnt sure a card would meet our minimum grade for a buyback product. His eye is exceptional and I would 1000% guarantee BGS or PSA would hire him in 10 seconds.  BUT AGAIN, I CANNOT SPEAK TO OR ADD COLOR TO HIS BUYING/SELLING/GRADING OF CARDS. I do however have a hard time believing he would ever alter a card and I do not believe he would ever bribe someone (nor do I believe anyone at PSA or BGS would accept a bribe - but again, this is merely my opinion.)." 

Gray offered $25,000 for anyone who can prove Clemons has an inside job going with BGS. 

In 2023 Gray sold his stake in Leaf Trading Cards and is no longer CEO.

Update: June 2, 2019:

eBay seller brentandbecca says he was offered a guaranteed grade deal from BGS. 

Former Topps employee Jon Einalhori confirmed on Twitter: "Guys, it's 1000% true. Not even worth debating. It's true and it's terrible. Bulk clients get a certain amount of guaranteed grades. No questions asked. It's happened and still does."

Update: June 4, 2019:

- Joe will provide BGS account information to Blowout Forum Member

Data provided to Blowout Forum Member appears incomplete and only goes back to November 2018. Joe ONLY allowed Black Label data to be shown, not Pristine 10 cards.

Joe got 17/22 Black Labels for his two, onsiteone day orders.

- Brian Gray, Leaf CEO, responds to data provided.

Joe RESPONDS to the haters.

Update: June 8, 2019:

The Beckett podcast talked about the Clemons issue. It starts at 20:00.

Here is a rough transcript of what was said:

Host Eric: I’ve never once seen Joe in the backroom. He is stopped at the front. And, you guys take his cards, and it’s like Fort Knox back there, you can’t just go back there. 

Derek Ficken: There are multiple cameras looking at everyone at all times. There’s hand access for the vault, where only a small handful of people have. This whole inside man thing, I think is the funniest thing about this whole issue, if you want to call it. But to have an inside man, seriously there is no possible way for that to happen. Because there is so many different security steps this company has already put into place for that not to happen, you know what I mean? 

Because this industry is, in my opinion, its all about money. So us as a company we make sure there is no conflict of interest by having someone come up to us, and say, “Hey here’s $1000, hook me up bro.” That happens to me all the time. 

Eric: I’ve seen it.

Derek Ficken: I hate it. It automatically gives you two strikes, you know what I mean? Because that is what is completely wrong with the hobby. 

Eric: Absolutely. I’ve seen it at the National. I’ve seen it in Toronto.

Derek Ficken: The National is terrible. 

Eric: They bring you graders food. They’ll bring money, or other gifts and they get pissed because their cards are graded in the same manner as everyone else cards are.

There is a vocal minority that is being very loud right now, and it’s sad to see. It’s interesting to me because I think if the good guys will just speak up it might not be….. 

Derek Ficken: Might level up little bit. I go through the comments and some of these things these guys say are just terrible. Not just things about the company, they are taking shots, personally.

I’ve never seen anything like this, and so now I feel for the athletes and the people that are legit famous that have to deal with this backlash on a daily basis on social media. And that’s a reason why I don’t do social media as much as I did. Because c’mon man. You know what I mean?

Update: June 10, 2019:

BGS and Leaf Trading Cards: The curious case of 2018 Valiant - new data emerges that conflicts with how BGS claims they process cards.

Update: June 15, 2019:

An eBay account linked to Leaf Trading Cards appears to get the same BGS 'Black Label' hook up as former Beckett & current Leaf employee, Joe Clemons receives.

Leaf CEO Brian Gray writes on Blowout Forum those who actually want the truth will PM or call him.

Update: June 16, 2019:

Sports Card Radio with an exclusive story about Clemons selling a large amount of Leaf promo cards. 

Update: July 13, 2019:

Things just got real for two Beckett Grading Services employees.

Midwest/Southeast Regional Sales Manager & Beckett Podcast host Derek Ficken and Beckett's Vice President Jeromy Murray have been slapped with orders to appear in court. 

Ficken Subpoena - Murray Subpoena

The requests come from attorney's representing Upper Deck in a civil lawsuit against Leaf Trading Cards.

Here is what lawyers for Upper Deck are after from Ficken and Murray.  

 Jeromy Murray

Derek Ficken

Update: December 31, 2019:

Clemons responded to haters in a Blowout Forum thread. Saying the truth will eventually set him free.

"I agree that everything will come out eventually and I can't wait until it does."

Update: February 6, 2022:

We will release a video about the scandal on our YouTube page.



Card Trimmers


Gary Moser
a.k.a "Scissor Hands"
Melville, NY
Case Details


Robert Block
a.k.a "Fat Kid On The"
Boca Raton, Florida
Case Details


Will Jaimet
a.k.a "One Touch"
Tigard, Oregon
Case Details


Superior Sports Investments
a.k.a "SSI"
a.k.a "Bill Sliheet"
a.k.a "Nate Nichols"
Dallas, TX
Case Details


Brent Huigens
a.k.a "Brent Mastro"
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Case Details


Eric Bitz
a.k.a "BuyNiceCards"
a.k.a "BuyTrimmedCards"
Canonsburg, PA
Case Details


Brian Ehricke Deer
a.k.a "Easy Money"
San Francisco, CA
Case Details


Joe Clemons
a.k.a "Meet Joe Black Label"
Dallas, TX
Case Details


Steven Tormollan
a.k.a "InstaTrimmer"
Catonsville, Maryland
Case Details


About the author 


  • I worked at Beckett, in the grading room (but not a grader) and later in editorial. Joe worked there then. He is a super good guy and as honest as anyone you will find. These accusations against him are silly and ridiculous.
    When I was submitting cards, I had more than my ‘fair share’ of pristine and 9.5 grades simply due to the fact that I knew what to look for on cards I submitted. I was also not utterly delusional like SO many collectors that insist their obvious 8.5s are 9.5s. We’d literally get angry letters from customers with screenshots of the eBay auctions they got the card from listing the card as ‘MINT,’ and insisting that the eBay seller was right and we were wrong. Seriously insane stuff.
    Lumping Joe in with the bottom-feeders and card trimmers is sick and sad. Terribly misguided.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    More Articles

    2023 Sports Card Radio Awards

    Email: SportsCardShow@gmail.com