A former ticket office executive for the Phoenix Suns has been sentenced to a year in jail and three years of supervised probation in connection with a scheme involving the use of insider system access to steal tickets that would be sold through StubHub.
Jeffrey Allen Marcussen pleaded guilty to charges of Fraud Schemes and Artifices and Theft in April 2022, having been initially charged with those crimes and False return in September 2020, according to the office of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, whose Special Investigation Section prosecuted the case. As part of his guilty pleas to the two felony counts, Marcussen agreed to repay the Phenix Suns organization $458,218 as well as fines to the state of more than $10,000.
Marcussen had been an employee of the Phoenix organization since 2004, and reportedly began stealing tickets with the intent to profit off of their sale through StubHub in 2017. It was through StubHub that the team eventually found out about the scheme. At the time of the theft, Marcussen was working as the team’s assistant director of ticketing.
“StubHub contacted the NBA when it discovered five different Stub Hub accounts all linked to the Defendant,” prosecutors wrote in a November 2020 response to Marcussen’s motion to modify release conditions and to travel out of state. “After an internal audit by the Phoenix Suns Organization, which included a confession by the Defendant, law enforcement investigated the case. The investigation revealed, and bank records confirmed, that the Defendant received a total payout from Stub Hub for $458,218.”
The case is one of several in recent years involving ticket office insiders who stole tickets for resale, with the notable exception that this one was found out by a resale marketplace turning in the seller when they weren’t partnered with the organization being defrauded. Ticket brokers in Pennsylvania got jail time for their role in a case where a USGA employee stole U.S. Open golf tickets for resale, and a ticket broker in Illinois also was sentenced to prison for selling tickets that a Chicago White Sox employee had fraudulently generated.
According to a statement provided to ESPN by Marcussen’s attorney, he had only begun the scheme in recent seasons, following the death of his brother.
“Jeff worked for the Phoenix Suns for close to 20 years,” says attorney Mark Kokanovich. “After the cold-blooded tragic murder of his brother near the end of Jeff’s career with the Suns, Jeff began selling tickets without team approval. Jeff admitted to the sales and reimbursed the team while cooperating with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.”
Prior to the plea deal, the charges Marcussen was facing carried a maximum sentence of up to 13 years in prison.
Last Updated on October 21, 2022 by Dave Clark