Joe Meli, who faced several charges related to an alleged Ponzi scheme involving duping investors by telling them they could get in on purchase and resale of red-hot “Hamilton” tickets, has accepted a plea deal from the government, according to a piece in the Hollywood Reporter.
Meli, a onetime executive with DTI Management, pled guilty to one count of securities fraud on Tuesday afternoon. The five other charges he faced related to the alleged scheme have been dismissed.
According to the indictment, brought by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Meli and co-defendent Steven Simmons perpetrated a “scheme to defraud investors and and provide those fraud proceeds to earlier investors in a hedge fund” as well as “wire fraud in connection with a related fraudulent scheme in which Meli solicited investments through false representations that Meli had entered into an agreement to purchase tickets to a particular Broadway show (Hamilton), which Meli could then resell for a profit.”
Charges from the case sprawled to include others including sports talk radio personality Craig Carton, who was charged for his role in the alleged conspiracy in September. Simmons entered a guilty plea on Monday. It is unclear whether or not Carton or any of the similarly charged co-conspirators have or will soon be taking plea deals of their own.
The plea deals come just days after Meli’s attorneys filed a motion to suppress evidence based on alleged government misconduct. They claimed that the government used a confidential informant to record an admission of guilt by Meli. That recording, made by Connecticut hedge fund manager and co-defendant Mark Varacchi – who pled guilty in February to conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud charges, was recorded “outside the presence of the legal counsel that Mr. Meli had retained in connection with the Government’s investigation,” according to Ampthemag.com.
“Mr. Meli is pleased that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has agreed to dismiss the charges against him concerning the Sentinel Ponzi scheme, and he looks forward to putting the case involving his ticket reselling business behind him,” said Daniel Fetterman, one of Meli’s attorney’s, in a statement.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Meli’s guilty plea is to a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, but sentencing guidelines could mean a much lighter sentence between 78 and 97 months.