Ticket broker headed to prison for ChiSox scam

CHICAGO – A Chicago ticket broker} convicted of fraudulently selling tickets to White Sox games was sentenced to prison Tuesday after a federal judge rejected his argument that he had actually helped the team by putting more fans, who bought concessions, in the seats.

During a hearing, the judge sentenced Bruce Lee, 35, to a year and a half in federal prison, after a jury found him guilty of fraud in October. US District Judge James Kennelly also ordered Lee to pay $74,650 in restitution to the White Sox with his co-defendants and personally forfeit about $450,000 in ill-gotten gains, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The judge made it clear that he was not convinced by the argument made by Lee’s attorney in the sentencing memorandum seeking parole for him. The defense argued that the baseball team benefited from the scheme’s concession slots and that the team did not assign any value to the innings anyway.

Kennelly called the suggestion that no one was injured “delusional” and said it was important to point out others who might want to embark on a similar scheme that could cost them their freedom if caught.

“The math has to include the possibility that if I get caught paying these people under the table, I’m going to lose my freedom,” Kennelly said. “Without that, it’s just dollars and cents.”

Lee, owner of a Chicago-based ticketing agency, Great Tickets, and two White Sox employees, James Costello and William O’Neil, were arrested in 2020 and charged with participating in a sophisticated scheme involving the sale of thousands of fraudulently created tickets to White Sox games.

The scheme generated about $1 million for the three men, federal prosecutors said at the time.

Costello, 67, and O’Neil, 52, have pleaded guilty to their role in the scheme. They cooperated with the investigation and are awaiting sentencing.

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Ticket broker headed to prison for ChiSox scam