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.”