A Georgia man was sentenced to more than four years in prison after pleading guilty to selling counterfeit tickets to the Super Bowl, as well as All-Star and NCAA Championship games.
Eugene Smith, 45, of Lithonia, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, and trafficking in counterfeit goods, the U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said. Smith reportedly sold counterfeit tickets to sporting events like the National Football League’s Super Bowl LI in Houston and Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, the National Basketball Association All-Star game, NCAA football and basketball games, and a handful of other sporting events and concerts. The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joan E. Burnes and Anita Eve.
According to the United Stated Department of Justice, the scheme was revolved around how big an event was. Smith took several steps in the process to determine which events would draw the most profit and then used a real ticket to the event to print out multiple fake tickets. Then, he would travel to the venue and sell the fake tickets, which looked real due to the tickets’ markings and holograms.
Eric Ferguson, who was also charged with the same offenses as Smith, testified at Smith’s hearing and explained that Smith had recruited him to help sell counterfeit tickets. Court documents were presented which showed that Ferguson printed tickets which totaled to at least $170,000, yet the estimated total greatly exceeded the tickets’ original face value.
U.S. Attorney McSwain said at the hearing that Smith’s case isn’t just about taking advantage of sports fans and stealing their money, but is about “ensuring that consumers of all types can trust that when they spend their money, they are getting the authentic product for which they paid.
“Smith is nothing more than a con-artist and thief, and I’m grateful that the judge saw it that way and gave him a sentence that ensures justice for his victims,” he said.
Smith now faces 51 months in prison. Ferguson, who pleaded not guilty, is still on trial.