On September 6, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged a sports radio personality and another New York City resident with stealing millions of dollars from investors. The two defendants are accused of promising investors that their funds would be utilized for the purchase and resale of concert tickets.
The complaint, which was filed in a Manhattan federal district court, suggests that Craig Carton and Joseph Meli falsely claimed that they had access to large quantities of face value tickets for upcoming concerts. The SEC alleges that the defendants promised investors high returns after price markups and ticket resales. Unfortunately, the defendants are accused of misappropriating at least $3.6 million to repay earlier investors and to cover other expenses, such as Carton’s gambling debts. Instead of using the money for tickets, the SEC alleges that the defendants used the money for other purposes.
Carton is also accused of tricking a concert venue into sending an investor’s money to a bank account controlled by one of his companies. The SEC also claims that one investor was provided with documents pretending that the defendants had purchased Adele tickets directly from Adele’s management company for a lower price. The SEC suggests that no such agreement was in place.
Earlier this year, Meli was charged with operating a Ponzi scheme involving the possible resales of tickets to certain events, including the Broadway musical Hamilton. Also today, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced criminal charges against Carton.
The SEC will attempt to seek disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, interest and penalties against the defendants and the six businesses they control. The businesses include Advance Entertainment LLC, AdvanceM LTD., Misoluki LLC, Misoluki Inc., Tier One Tickets LLC., and Ticket Jones LLC. The defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.