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Men arrested for Hamilton, Adele ticket Ponzi scheme

There are few artists like Adele, and even fewer musicals like Hamilton, able to fetch up to the tens of thousands of dollars for certain tickets. They both attract a certain kind of fan, willing to part with their savings for one night of glory.

So a business which seeks to buy up blocks of tickets to Hamilton performances and Adele concerts, and sell them onto audiences for a profit, might seem like a lucrative investment, right?

Well two men have been arrested and charged in the US over a Ponzi scheme, convincing wealthy people they were investing in in-demand tickets to popular performances. Joseph Meli, 42, of Manhattan, and Steven Simmons, 48, of Wilton, Connecticut, were charged with operating a Ponzi scheme across 13 states, enticing people to $81 million.

The Broadway ticket scheme was just one of the legitimate-sounding investments they offered to backers.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said, in a civil complaint, at least $51 million of the investment was used to pay off other investors. The fraud is believed to stretch back to November 2015.

Deputy U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “Meli allegedly made up out of whole cloth purported deals to buy Broadway tickets that he could later sell at a profit … But as alleged, Meli was just robbing Peter to pay Paul.”


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