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SEC launches investigation into Broadway Ponzi scheme

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed white collar crime charges in March 2017 against two men who were allegedly involved in an elaborate money laundering scheme involving tickets for Broadway shows and musical performances. The fraud allegations could have far-reaching effects and consequences on corporate crime charges in California and elsewhere around the country.

The federal case brought against two New York City men alleges that they raised $97 million from investors in 17 states to resell tickets for the popular Broadway musical, "Hamilton" and concerts by Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. The men were also raising money to resell tickets for the upcoming production of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child."

The two men allegedly sold investors on the embezzlement scheme by promising several hundred thousand dollars in profits to each person. However, instead of making restitution to their investors, the duo allegedly engaged spent the money on gambling, school tuition and jewelry. They also allegedly made false statements to investors about how many tickets they controlled for the Harry Potter production. They promised a purchase of 250,000 tickets, which never occurred, according to SEC officials. The men pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The SEC's increased scrutiny of internet crime could lead to difficulties for people who make their living through online investing. An experienced white collar crime attorney may be able to advise someone who is facing penalties for online crimes like copyright infringement, identity theft and insider trading. Additionally, consulting with lawyers regarding their investment practices may help investors avoid making common mistakes that can lead to allegations of forgery, bribery and tax fraud.

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