Bust Of Fake Concert And Sports Ticket Ring Leads To 16 Arrests
United Center, the venue of many events the ring sold forged tickets to (photo via EMR on Flickr)
When you’re buying tickets to a Disney on Ice show, you rarely think, “Am I part of a giant gang-related forgery scam?” But you live in Chicago, and you could always be part of a giant scam.
Exhibit A: After a 14-month investigation by the Chicago Police Department and the FBI, 16 people have been charged with forgery—a class three felony—for selling fake tickets to a wide range of events including Disney on Ice, Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office announced Tuesday.
The group forged tickets to less aggressively wholesome sporting events too: Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks games, as well as WWE matches. The events all took place at three venues: Chicago’s Soldier Field, United Center and Rosemont’s Allstate Arena.
The 16 people who have been charged are “documented gang members,” according to police, who see this investigation as part of a broader effort to crack down on "organized gang activity."
This particular forgery ring was run through Craigslist. The group sold their forged tickets through the website, and met their “victims,” as Madigan’s office's statement termed them, in coffee shops and restaurants to sell the tickets for cash. Buyers found out their tickets were fake when they were turned away from events at the door.
Here is the list of defendants, all charged with forgery, and their ages: Lamont Flowers, 20; Labron Gray, 39; Nathaniel Gray, 24; Mitchell Hazzard, 36; Dionte Johnson, 20; Rashawn Mays, 20; Darrick McClinton, 33; Kenneth McCullough, 19; Joseph McKnight, 26; Russell Merritt, 36; David Metcalf, 25; Marcus Moore, 19; Mark Morrison, 24; Jason Peters, 24; Rodney Pole, 25; and Lionel Robinson, 34.
As of Tuesday, eight of the above 16 people are in custody.