Two British ticket scalpers, who were found guilty of illegally scalping over £4 million worth of tickets for seven years under false identities, will now serve a combined total of seven years behind bars.
Following a hearing earlier this week, Judge Khokhar said that while he took “no pleasure” in handing down the sentences, he felt that he had to on behalf of public interest. Peter Hunter was sentenced to four years in prison and his associate, David Thomas Smith, was sentence to two and a half years behind bars.
As previously reported, Hunter and Smith had used multiple identities and bots to purchase tickets for artists like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Coldplay. The operation scheme, which was led under the names Ticket Wizz and BZZ Limited, took place between 2010 and 2017. The pair reportedly sold tickets on various sites for £10.8 million ($14.1 million USD). After multiple warnings, authorities stepped in and after raiding their homes, found over 110 credit and debit cards for nearly 40 different aliases.
While Hunter’s attorney, Ben Douglas-Jones, admitted that the pair breached the terms and conditions of the sites where they bought tickets, he claimed that did not mean they were guilty of a criminal offense. The campaign manager of FanFair Alliance, Adam Webb, disagreed, noting that the veridct “shines further light on the murky world of secondary ticketing” and “we strongly suspect Peter Hunter and David Smith are not exceptional.”
The penalty, while seemingly harsh, comes amid the UK’s effort to curb transparency in the ticketing market. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is still investigating Viagogo’s acquisition of secondary site StubHub and just last week, the CMA fined StubHub $1.3 million for not being transparent and offering misleading prices on its British website.