College football fans planning to attend a Texas A&M football game against Clemson in 2018 were scammed by a reseller running a nationwide ticket scheme, authorities said.
Now, the 48-year-old man from California has pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, according to federal court records filed in the Southern District of Texas.
The man is accused of using stolen credit card information and personal identifying information of people across the U.S. to buy tickets for sporting games, concerts and other entertainment events, according to an Aug. 24 news release.
He’d then resell the tickets on resale websites in a scheme that ran from about March 2017 to March 2020, federal officials said.
The man’s defense attorney declined to comment on the case.
In the days leading up to the Texas A&M football game in College Station, the 12th Man Foundation — the organization that sells Texas A&M tickets — “became suspicious that some tickets were being purchased with stolen credit card information,” according to the man’s plea agreement.
“When the 12th Man attempted to contact the buyers of the suspicious tickets, it confirmed the accounts were not legitimate and cancelled the barcodes on the tickets,” prosecutors said.
But some of those tickets had already been resold to unsuspecting buyers, according to the plea agreement.
“When buyers of the invalidated tickets attempted to gain entry to the football game, they were denied entry,” authorities said. “Additionally, Texas A&M suffered a 100% loss of revenue on the tickets because once a ticket is invalidated, it does not re-issue the ticket and Texas A&M refunded all monies it received from the fraudulent credit card purchases.”
Texas A&M University did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News.
Authorities said the man used stolen information belonging to at least 75 victims as his scheme continued.
He faces at least two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the release. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 14.