Joe Meli was sentenced to 37 months in prison Friday for his role in a ticket resale fraud scheme. The sentence is the second for similar crimes that Meli has received, with 25 months of this new term to be served concurrently with a 78-month sentence Meli received in 2018 after pleading guilty to a separate but similar scheme.
“Joseph Meli, a recidivist fraudster, spun the web of lies that buttressed this scheme while on pretrial release in a prior theatre ticket investment fraud case in this District,” says U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. “With today’s sentencing, the curtain has come down on Joseph Meli’s act.”
According to the complaint, Meli convinced other individuals to invest in a business entity based on his ability to obtain large numbers of tickets to live events such as Broadway shows. Investor money was supposed to be used to acquire those tickets, with investors receiving a share of the profits reaped from reselling the tickets on the secondary market. Instead, the money was spent on personal use, including a $455,000 payment to a relative to be used to pay off credit card debt, $500,000 sent to an unrelated company, and $220,000 sent to a residential management company related to an apartment that he was leasing. According to the Justice Department, Meli was engaged in the scheme associated with this most recent sentence while he was already charged with and awaiting trial on the earlier case.
In addition to the prison time, Meli has been ordered to pay a forfeiture penalty of $2.08 million and restitution of $1.9 million. Following his prison term, he will have three years of supervised release, two of which will run concurrently with the previous supervised release imposed by his prior sentence.
Meli’s case has received substantial media attention, both due to the amounts involved, and over its interconnected nature to similar fraud charges faced by WFAN radio host Craig Carton. Carton recveived a 3.5 year sentence and substantial restitution requirements, but has since been released and was hired back to his former job as co-host of the Boomer & Carton show.