Three operators of Wiseguy Tickets, Inc. have been sentenced in connection with their multimillion-dollar scheme to circumvent the security mechanisms of online ticket distributors to buy premium tickets in bulk and resell them for a profit, the FBI’s Newark office announced.
Kenneth Lowson, 41, Kristofer Kirsch, 38, of Los Angeles; and Joel Stevenson, 38, of Alameda, Calif., previously pleaded guilty in Newark federal court. Lowson and Kirsch each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and Stevenson pleaded guilty to exceeding authorized access to computers engaged in interstate commerce.
Court document say the engaged in a scheme in which they fraudulently obtained prime tickets to musical and theatrical performances, sporting events and special events such as tapings of the TV show “Dancing with the Stars.”
Lowson, Kirsch and Stevenson used Wiseguys to obtain and resell millions of dollars worth of sought-after premium tickets, typically selling them to ticket brokers at a mark-up over face value. The brokers then sold the tickets to the general public at much higher prices.
To bypass technologies that restrict the number of tickets individuals can buy, the defendants worked with computer programmers in Bulgaria to launch a nationwide network of computers that impersonated individual visitors to the websites. This ploy gave the defendants access to the best seats to popular events, purchasing approximately 1.5 million tickets.
The defendants also created fake Internet domains and email addresses to receive event tickets from online ticket vendors. Additionally, the defendants directed the development and deployment of technologies designed to defeat online ticket vendors' software.
Lowson and Kirsch were each sentenced to two years’ probation and 300 hours of community service; Stevenson was sentenced to one year of probation. Lowson was also ordered to forfeit $1.225 million.