A former employee of the United States Golf Association (USGA) faces up to 300 years of prison and millions of dollars in fines over allegations that he stole thousands of US Open tickets and sold them over a seven year span. Robert Fryer was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud, and 10 counts of wire fraud related to the alleged scheme, which covered tournaments held from 2013 through 2019, according to Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Jennifer Arbitter Williams.
According to the charges, Fryer used his position in the USGA Admissions Office to steal moare than 23,000 tickets to the tournament, one of golf’s four Major events annually. The tickets were then sold to ticket brokers, with Fryer allegedly receiving more than $1 million in payments for the tickets, which had a face value of more than $3 million.
“The defendant allegedly stole revenue from a legitimate business that pays taxes, employs many, supports a non-profit organization, and brings excitement and income to our district with U.S. Open events at courses like the Merion Golf Club,” said Acting U. S. Attorney Williams. “Criminals that conduct ticket schemes like this prey on the excitement surrounding big events; fans should remember that any item with a low price that seems ‘too good to be true’ should be cause for caution and concern.”
“Robert Fryer allegedly engaged in a years-long scheme to steal and sell thousands of U.S. Open tickets,” said Bradley S. Benavides, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Fraud is simply not the answer, if you feel your paycheck isn’t up to par. The FBI takes seriously allegations of embezzlement and fraud and will investigate anyone engaged in this sort of criminal behavior.”
Fryer’s bulk sale of these tickets far exceeded the cap of 20 tickets that could be sold to any one person, per USGA policy. There is no indication in the announcement of the charges that any of the ticket brokers had any idea that the tickets being purchased were stolen, and Fryer is the only individual or business currently charged in the case. If found guilty at trial, Fryer faces a maximum sentence 300 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $3,750,000 fine, and a $1,500 special assessment. In addition, He could also be required to pay restitution to the USGA and forfeit the proceeds obtained from the alleged fraud.