Update (as of 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon) Shah has been arrested at the Pechanga Casino and Resort in Temecula, California after a casino worker recognized him from media coverage, WSB-TV Atlanta reports. He is currently being held in California until he can be extradited back to Georgia.
A Georgia businessman has been accused of scamming dozens of people, including his own family and friends, out of nearly $1 million worth of Super Bowl LIII tickets before fleeing town.
Ketan Shah of Lawrenceville, Georgia allegedly scammed at least five people within Gwinnett County, Atlanta’s WSB-TV reports. The victims said that they gave Shah money but never received tickets to the game. On game day, they reached out to Shah, but he was nowhere to be found. Shah even scammed his mother; she reportedly gave him $36,000 for tickets before he took off.
“The money totals well over three-quarters of a million dollars,” Cpl. Wilbert Rundles, a spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department said in a statement to Kron 4. “It is pretty surprising when you would take advantage of a friend or family members, but your own mother? It’s quite troubling.”
According to Shah’s wife, Bhavi, he has been missing for a month and she’s unaware of his current location. In a police report, she said that she suspects he may have taken the money and “went to Las Vegas as part of a midlife crisis.”
One of the victims, John Brunetti, told Fox 5 Atlanta that he had met Shah through his brother-in-law and didn’t think twice about the deal.
“I even had him sign a contract that if he didn’t give me the tickets, he would give me the face value of the tickets so I could at least pay for those on the day of the game,” Brunetti said. “He was like, ‘Yeah, no problem.’”
However, now he’s out $50,000.
“I just didn’t account for maybe this guy will leave his job, leave his wife, leave his 12-year-old son, his daughter who’s at [University of Georgia] and just skip town,” Brunetti said. “I never in a million years played that into a possible scenario.”
One couple, Jim and Jane Comerford, told Inside Edition that they paid Shah $10,000 for two tickets to the Super Bowl in an opportunity to see superstar quarterback Tom Brady before he retires. Yet, the tickets weren’t delivered. Another victim, Alan Tartt, said that Bhavi hasn’t seen Shah since January 3 and although he reached out to his family and friends, “no one knew where he was,” NBC News reports.
Now that the Super Bowl has been played and the tickets were not received, Shah will face multiple counts of theft by deception, police say.