6.5-Year Sentence In $100 Million Ticket Resale Scam; Broker Sold ‘Hamilton,’ Adele Tickets

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
– “Hamilton” Takes The Stage At The Tonys
The cast of “Hamilton” perform at the Tony Awards at the Beacon Theatre in New York. 
A Manhattan federal court judge April 3 sentenced Joseph Meli, who pleaded guilty for his part in a $95 million scheme involving ticket resale for shows like an Adele concert and Broadway’s “Hamilton,” to 6 and a half  years in prison and ordered him to pay back about $100 million. 
In a U.S. Department of Justice release, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “Joseph Meli directed his own version of a Broadway production, where the lead character deceives investors into giving him money that he pockets and spends on himself, or uses to pay off other investors.  Today, however, Meli’s Ponzi scheme is over, and he will serve prison time for his crimes.”
Meli and Steven Simmons were arrested in January 2017 on charges they conned wealthy individuals to make multimillion-dollar investments in a Ponzi-like scheme in which they told investors they would resell tickets to popular shows like “Hamilton” for a profit.
The DOJ statement says Meli, operating as a ticket broker with his Advance Entertainment company,  used “a substantial portion of the investor funds he obtained” for personal expenses, including payments for a $3 million house, a 2017 Porsche and expensive jewelry. 
Federal authorities said Meli took more than $100 million from 130 investors over a two-year period until his arrest in 2017. Simmons was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to forfeit $6.9 million including a house. 
Meli falsely represented to investors that he had written agreements with production companies for popular Broadway shows and with management companies for popular musicians to purchase large blocks of tickets for resale. 
Meli was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.  In late October, Meli accepted a plea bargain in which he pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud.  Fiver other charges were dismissed in the deal.