A Chicago woman who ran a ticket fraud scheme has been sentenced to four years in prison and is ordered to pay nearly $5 million in restitution.
Traci Monti, 44, was arrested in October 2016 and charged with seven counts of wire fraud along with two counts of money laundering. According to the original indictment, she operated a ticket fraud scheme from 2010 to October 2015, telling investors that she could earn profits for concerts and sports tickets on the secondary market.
However, Monti kept all the earnings, totaling more than $5 million, to herself. With the money, she bought a new house, car, tattoos, vacations, and clothing, Chicago Business Journal reports.
“Monti fraudulently obtained more than $5 million from investors by misrepresenting that she could purchase tickets for sporting events and concerts from primary market sources at face value or at a discount through purported connections in the event business and then resell the tickets for a profit on the secondary market,” the government said.
U.S. Attorney Sheri Mecklenburg said in a government statement that her case involves a “brazen and meriless scheme to fraud” and Monti “cast a wide net, seeking victims whenever and wherever she could.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Monti dropped out of high school during her freshman year, however, she was still able to lead victims on – even scheming a University of Chicago professor with history in economy and accounting with a doctorate degree.
Monti reportedly told U.S. District Judge Manish Shah that she was “disgusted” with her actions and wanted to “take responsibility” for what she did, The Sun-Times reported. While Shah believed she Monti wanted to redeem herself and fix the situation, she was a repeated fraud offender.
“In person, you appear genuinely frightened about what happened and what the future holds for you,” Shah said during sentencing. “But to be blunt … on paper you are a liar and a thief.
“You’ve manufactured a fantasy for yourself and now reality is coming down around you.”
Monti will face 46 months in prison and is ordered to pay back her 12 victims.