Two former employees of the Chicago White Sox allegedly schemed with a ticket broker to fraudulently sell thousands of tickets to White Sox baseball games, according to an indictment released by the Department of Justice.
Former ticket sellers for the team, James Costello and William O’Neil, reportedly generated complimentary and discount game tickets without the team’s authorization and passed them on to a ticket broker, Bruce Lee, of the Chicago-based brokerage Great Tickets. The 14-count indictment states that Lee paid the employees an unspecified amount of cash in exchange for the tickets and then sold them on the secondary ticketing site StubHub below face value.
Between the 2016 and 2019 baseball seasons, Lee earned approximately $868,369 by selling 34,876 fraudulent tickets from Costello and O’Neil, the charges note. More than 95 percent of the tickets sold were vouchers for youth groups, corporate sponsors, and family and friends of the players. The Chicago White Sox suffered a loss of approximately $1 million as a result of the fraudulent ticket scheme.
The team reportedly contacted the FBI in October 2018 after their data analytics team flagged Lee as having sold a significantly larger amount of Sox tickets than anyone else on StubHub, Jon Seidel of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. In just 2018, Lee reportedly sold over 10,000 more tickets than the next three highest sellers combined.
Lee, 34, has been charged with eleven counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering, while Costello, 66, has been charged with one count of money fraud. O’Neil, 55, is charged with one count of making a false statement to the FBI, the DOJ said. Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, while money laundering carries a maximum sentence of ten years. The false statement charge is punishable by up to five years behind bars.
Arraignments for Costello, O’Neil, and Lee have not been scheduled at this time.