There have been a number of creatively awful (and awfully creative) conmen making music headlines as of late. Including a 46-year-old man from NSW who swindled millions from would-be investors in his fraudulent music label by fooling them with photoshopped images of himself rubbing shoulders with rock stars, politicians and cultural power brokers.
Then there was Los Angelean guitarist Marino De Silva who was sentenced to 8 years in jail for conning charity functions with compilations that reportedly claimed rare material from The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and The Rolling Stones that the guitarist simply faked, or didn’t deliver on.
Now, the BBC reports that a man has been convicted for promoting and selling tickets to imaginary concerts, swindling nearly £4 million ($AU 6.2m) before he was caught and jailed.
David Spanton appeared before a London court and was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to money laundering as well as admitting four counts of obtaining credit while bankrupt.
The 42-year-old Londoner managed an online website called Ticketindex.com that offered fake gig and sports event tickets, by upping the prices on rare tickets and then never delivering the goods. One burnt customer told the BBC that she’d spent £750 (approx. $1,200) trying to get hold of tickets to a Take That concert.
“I got an email saying their allocation of tickets hadn’t been successful so unfortunately they’d done everything they could but we’d been unsuccessful in our allocation,” she said.
Other customers attempting to buy tickets to major football matches where also victimised by Spanton’s schemes, one lost nearly £4,000 for purchases towards the 2010 Champions League Final that never arrived.
Detective Superintendent Nick Downing, part of the organised crime unit named Operation Podium, said that Police found evidence of further ticketing sales and scams at the address where Spanton was arrested, and were attempting to seize illegally gained profits to stop similar kinds of scams being run again.
Detective Downing told press that while sometimes victims of fraud are reimbursed by their credit card company, the wider issue of informing police of scams needs to be addressed.
“Historically ticketing crime, ticketing fraud, hasn’t been reported,” said the Superintendent. “This causes problems because when you’re trying to get it on a policing agenda or government agenda, there are no reports.
“People don’t see the impact of someone who bought that ticket from a website, who gets told to meet someone at the venue, who’s never going to turn up. It’s cruel.”